For many professionals, the little red bubble next to their email app can cause more anxiety than they’d like to admit. Whether the number in the bubble is 10 or 10,000, the idea of sorting and responding to all those unread emails can create a sense of dread.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage your inbox and maintain your sanity. In order to help prevent “email anxiety,” we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
Q. What is your preferred method for handling a full inbox and dealing with “email inbox anxiety”?
1. Block out specific times to check email
Inbox anxiety is a serious thing. One study says employees read and respond to emails for nearly 28% of the workday. I check my inbox three times a day on typical workdays (8 a.m., noon, 4:30 p.m.), and only twice on “creative” workdays where I can’t be distracted. On the final check, I clean out all junk. And never check email before bed. Your body/brain will thank you because you’ll sleep better. —Ron Lieback, ContentMender
2. Take control of incoming messages
The easiest way to manage your inbox anxieties is to take control of your incoming messages. Delete messages, unsubscribe, report spam, and use filtering and blocking tools. Anything less is just an amateur move. It is vital to stay on top of your emails as you might miss something important, or even worse, a lucrative opportunity may pass you by! —Turath D’hont, San Diego Moving Company
3. Use tabs in Gmail
We utilize G Suite and have found the Tabs to be an ideal way to reduce clutter. We receive a high volume of notifications from project management platforms, storage tools, and accounts, and we’re able to assign each to their own section so that priority communications aren’t buried. It also truncates the non-primary tabs (up to four of them) in your mobile app. —Justin Moodley, LASANAN
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4. Stop using your “in-between” time for emails
As someone who has struggled with inbox anxiety, I have learned to block off time on my calendar to answer emails. This has helped with my ability to focus and not relying on sending emails for a few minutes at a time between meetings. —Stephanie Cartin, Socialfly
5. Prioritize what needs to get done today
Inbox anxiety can be problematic if you let it consume you. What we like to do is remember that there is always tomorrow. Prioritize the important stuff you need to get done today, and snooze the rest until tomorrow or later today. With G Suite it’s nice to snooze some mail so you don’t see it until your reminder times up. When tasks are “out of sight, out of mind,” it helps a lot. —Matthew Gibson, Flewid Inc.
6. Keep emails in the same thread
It’s important to set time to review, reply, delete, and unsubscribe emails. It’s also important to use the same thread versus starting new emails. We are very diligent about this at Elev8. Many clients and vendors start new threads, which can result in losing emails, miscommunication, or missing information. Keeping it all in one thread per that subject ensures accuracy and reduces excess emails. —Angela Delmedico, Elev8 Consulting Group
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