How much time do you spend being consumed by your email? Do you feel like you’re constantly being pulled away from other, important tasks because you can never keep your inbox satisfied?

If the answer is yes, here’s the question you need to ask yourself: Have you ever stopped to think about just how important your emails are?

Since the humble email arrived it has managed to supersede most things in our lives! As soon as an email arrives in our inbox, we feel a compelling urge to reply immediately.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

New research has shown that only 1 in 3 emails are actually essential for work and require an action.

Chief scientist, Nathaniel Borenstein from Mimecast, (who conducted the research) said:

“What is clear is that the average employee faces a significant challenge in simply processing the information that comes into their inbox and identifying which messages are genuinely business critical.”

I’m sure you yourself have experienced this. On average I receive over 100 emails every day. How many of these are really important? Probably less than 10. (Most of them are more of a distraction than of any use.)

So why not take this new research as a sign to do some spring cleaning? It’s time to create some space in your inbox so you can really focus on the tasks that make a difference to your business or work.

3 Steps to Spring Clean Your Inbox

1. Unsubscribe. Be ruthless and unsubscribe from any email newsletter that has not been read over the past 2 weeks. If you’ve not read it, then really how likely are you to in the future? Be realistic and remove those unnecessary subscriptions.

2. Deal with ‘subscription fear of missing out’. Remember that by unsubscribing you are not missing out. You can always visit the website or blog at your own leisure and access the information. It’s not a final goodbye!

3. Set up ‘email rules’. You can set up ‘rules’ so that certain types of emails are immediately placed into an email folder of your choice. This means you keep your inbox clear from emails that are not important. I use this tool to move any ‘newsletter’ emails, as I find these can easily consumer 30 – 40% of my inbox. (Note: I’m a Mac girl so I only know how to do this on a Mac.)

Here’s the process using Entourage:

Create a new folder first…

  1. Create a new email folder by going to ‘File’ drop down menu.
  2. Select ‘New’ and then ‘Folder’.
  3. Make sure you give your folder a relevant title such as ‘newsletters’ or ‘personal friends’ (depending on your subject).

Then, set up some rules…

Email Rules

  1. Go to ‘Tools’ drop-down menu.
  2. Select ‘Rules’ and then ‘New’.
  3. Give your rule a title.
  4. Select ‘Add Criterion’ – this should see a box underneath appear that says ‘from’ (if it doesn’t say ‘from’ then select ‘from’ in the drop down menu).
  5. Ensure the box next to ‘from’ says ‘contains’ and then in the box next to this add in the email address that you are creating the rule for.
  6. Underneath you will see a section that says ‘Then’ ‘Add Action’ ‘Remove Action’, here you should see two more boxes alongside each other.
  7. Make sure the first box says ‘move to’ (you may need to select this from the drop down).
  8. In the box next to this you need to select the name of th folder you created in step 1.
  9. Hit ‘OK’ and your rule has been set up! Entourage will now move any emails form the address you inputted into your selected folder!
  10. Go through and create rules for all emails that you think are ‘not urgent’.

That’s it. Enjoy your new clean and clear inbox!

(Photo credit: Mail Icon on Screen via Shutterstock)

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