I get questions from clients regarding inbox management quite often. Below are a few examples of what I’ve come across.

“My inbox is overflowing, help!”

“How am I ever going to get through all of these emails?”

“What if I miss something important?”

Does this sound familiar? Are you struggling to keep up with the overflow of emails coming through 24/7? Are important emails going unanswered because you didn’t see them among all of the others? If so, I think I can provide some easy steps that will allow you to manage your inbox with ease. I’ve helped a lot of my clients get their emails organized while keeping their inboxes at a minimum level.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that this will happen overnight, and I’m not going to tell you that your inbox will be empty all the time either. But, what I will say is that you will feel confident to never miss another important email again, you will never have to spend time sorting through your inbox to find those missing emails, and you will always be aware what is coming in and what is being sent out. As long you follow these steps:

  • Prioritize: This is the first thing I ask my clients to do. I like to have at least 2 priority levels, highest (most urgent) and lowest. However, this is not static and can change depending on the number of emails you receive. I’ve had clients with priority levels 1, 2, 3 and 4. It’s all up to you!
  • Action items (optional): This is an optional step that I like to include for special circumstances. If you consistently receive a lot of calendar invitations or certain messages that are highly urgent. Having an action category with a bright colored labeled will be very beneficial. I like to leave these emails in the inbox so they won’t be missed.
  • Color code: I feel that this is such a simple, yet valuable way to organize not only emails but calendars as well. When your eye is drawn to a specific color, you’ll automatically see the importance. I like to have my clients create color-coded labels (or folders) to help identify the priority levels. For example: Green= lowest priority, orange= highest priority, red= action item.
  • Think- Read, Categorize, Respond, Archive or Delete: Try to get yourself into the habit of going through your inbox at the beginning of your work day. This entails sorting through your emails and categorizing each email with its priority level, then respond (if needed, depending on priority and time). Once finished, delete or archive. By doing this you will get rid of any junk emails that may be filtering through, and you will be able to respond to your most urgent messages in a timely manner.

Trust me, these steps may seem like a lot at first but once you get used to the process it’s extremely simple. In no time you will have successfully managed your inbox, you’ll find everything in its place, nice and organized.

Do you have anything you would like to add that may have helped you get organized?

Finding the right tool for the job

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Are you equipped with the right tools to complete your daily duties? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have several unfinished tasks?
  • Is your calendar overwhelmed?
  • Are you always racing against the clock?
  • Do you have several unanswered emails on a daily basis?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, your toolbox may be lacking. Let me explain, we all know that every task needs a proper tool in order to complete it correctly. After all, that is what we’re aiming for right? Not just finishing the job, but completing it the best way we can, consistently. These tools will help to do just that, they will allow you to finish these tasks while staying on track, and they’re more accessible than you might think.

Delegating is one important tool that will help get your tasks finished throughout the day. If you delegate your least important tasks, you will likely get more accomplished in the long run. You can delegate things like scheduling, inbox management, transcription, research, and so much more. Finding a good team member is fundamental to the delegation process in order to be successful. If you are working with someone like me, getting you started with an outline of tasks for the week will save you much needed time.

Project Management Apps are so helpful when you’re working with a team, or several projects at once. They keep everyone on track by providing updates, allowing team members to ask questions, move due dates, add new projects, check off completed projects, etc. Some apps allow you to leave notes, or messages for the rest of the team and provide calendars to include upcoming projects.

Social Media and Content Management tools These tools help you streamline your social media posts and content. You can post to several sites at once, and even set specific dates for posting all in one place. You can create your content in advance, so there is no more worrying about posting on a daily basis, or to several individual sites.

Team messaging Apps like Slack, HipChat, Same page, or Google hangouts are great for real-time messaging. You can provide updates on existing projects, ask questions, or give team announcements. You can even private message a member of your team or group. No more waiting for an email response. You can use these apps straight from your computer, your phone, tablet or other mobile devices.

Browser Extensions This tool is my personal favorite. Depending on the browser you use, there are many options that can make simple tasks go by much faster. Like researching content: you can install an extension that will pull similar pages for you. You can use these to integrate with other services, or use them to modify, and add features to your browser. I would suggest limiting your use with these, and only install what you know will be beneficial to you. You don’t want to weigh down your browser with unused extensions.