In a world of instantaneous status updates, Instagram photos and news headlines, it is easy to get wrapped up in looking at your phone every two seconds. I was reading an article the other day about a surveyor tracking a busy intersection and how throughout the day only 5 people just sat at the stop light – the rest were checking their phones. We’ve lost the ability to just be with our thoughts and in silence, and often choose to avoid awkward silence or quiet moments, by picking up our phones.
In 2014 I want to embrace those quiet moments, and be more present in real life, rather than cyber life. Between computer screens, iPads, iPhones, Kindles and TVs, I’m a little over megapixels – is anyone with me on this?!
Anyway, off my soap box… so as part of my attempt to lessen my technology usage in 2014, I’m working on finding ways to work smarter. Enter email.
My husband gets a thousand emails a day. I get a fraction of that (and let’s be honest, most are from my shopping websites), but it still helps to have some helpful organization tips to help sort your way through the chaos that is the world of email. Here are my steps:
1. Unsubscribe from as many “spam” emails as possible. I try to do this at the beginning of the year (after all of my online holiday shopping, I was up to 100 emails every day). Even websites that I still am a member of – ie Groupon, LivingSocial, etc. I tend to only go on when I am looking for something, so I didn’t need a daily reminder of their deals. Many sites also allow for once a week, month or occasional emails to be sent.
2. Create folders. I find it super helpful to have folders. It makes searching for things a lot easier, and doesn’t make your inbox seem so daunting. I prefer to manually move everything over (as to not miss any emails), but you can easily set up rules that move everything into their respective folders (ie sample sale website notifications into a “shopping folder”) to easily be deleted or read.
3. Keep your inbox messages to a minimum. I have read 20 is the number, but my anxiety issues have resulted in me having 0 in my inbox. Now, this is somewhat a cheat number, because I actually have created a To Do folder, with a subcategory of Long Term Projects for items that are not time sensitive, but I’d like to accomplish. Each day I work on getting that number to 0, but although that isn’t always feasible, I make sure it is never over 20.
4. Organize, then read. I like to sort my emails first. Get rid of what you won’t read, and then prioritize by emails that just need to be read, then emails that need to be answered. It helps to see there are usually only a handful of emails that need responses, when at first glance that little inbox number can be a lot to handle… especially first thing in the morning!
5. Just do it. Just respond. I usually am not the best at this (but working on it), but if you can answer in under 5 minutes, just do it. If something requires a little more effort either flag it or move to your “To Do” folder.
What tips do you have to better tackle the world of email!?