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What was once an exciting announcement…. “you’ve got mail” now feels like a dreaded curse.

Email is here to stay it’s not going anywhere.

Yes, we now have other communication methods like texting, social media etc but email is what everyone knows.  How on earth do we make it feel like we control it not the other way around?

Here are some tips:

Firstly, cull the volume of email arriving in your inbox

  • Unsubscribe from the information you no longer read and the lists you were subscribed too without your permission.
  • If your family and friends have time to share those (I’m going to call them stupid) chain letter like emails (about something seemingly important *sigh*) with you and you don’t wish to read them, tell them so.  Honestly, they won’t really care but will abide by your wishes.  If it’s so important to them they will tell you all about it next time you see them.
  • Stop replying with thanks, got it, smiley faces and the like. It just encourages more unnecessary communication.  And if your team are doing that to you, tell them to stop.  Email is a very reliable method of communication these days it can be implied that you have received the email and yes thanks very much.

Secondly, control what you’re sending out

  • Stop replying all, cc’ing and bcc’ing unnecessarily; use an internal communication tool to ensure all see really important information.  Weekly wrap up meetings can also help overcome this.
  • In your email footer put your expected times you check email, ie “I check email only twice per day at 12 noon and 4pm”. This will set an expectation for your reader of when they should expect a return email if an urgent response is in fact needed.
  • Create Subject line shortcuts – this is useful for dealing with your team and other regular email communicators.  If your email relates to a particular project use it to start the email.  This will help the reader determine urgency and relevance to their current actions.  Always begin an email subject line with relevant shortcut ie. [PROJECT X] or [ACTION ITEM] {due Friday}

Thirdly, organize your inbox

  • Filter your emails.  Create filters for things such as e-newsletters you like to read, shopping emails, invoice receipts etc.  Create rules that emails go directly to these folders and not in your inbox.  They are more reference material than anything else. Read them when you can.
  • Use a tools such as The Swizzle to do all the hard work for you! They will sort emails such as those above and give you a one page report at the end of the day as to what went in that folder, Tres’ cool.
  • Use your email app on your phone or tablet device to make use of idle time.

And finally….

  • Here’s your free ticket, just because someone sends you an email doesn’t mean you have to reply.  You know what sometimes it’s just not necessary. It’s not rude its just life. Harsh but true.

Hopefully the tips above help you conquer your email overwhelm and put you back in the driving seat and……

“You’ve got less mail” 😉

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