Management4 tips for a tidy email inbox

A woman is sitting in front of a computer with two monitors
Excessive demands can allegedly be due to inadequate demand.Getty Images

Those who are said dead live longer. Again and again the good old email is declared obsolete. And yet it remains Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or Slack despite one of the most important means of communication in the world of work. The unbroken popularity is reflected in the mass of messages that end up every day in the various email inboxes that every professional keeps an eye on.

If you have the feeling that reading, answering and managing the digital messages is a job in itself, you are not wrong. According to a study by the McKinsey management consultancy, on average we spend an incredible 28 percent of our working week only on this task. The number comes from 2012 – but honestly: Do you get more or fewer emails today than five years ago? Just.

For marketing expert Eli Langer, one of Barack Obama’s followers, people can be divided into two groups. The one with zero and the one with thousands of unread emails.

Mail messis who are supposed to be totally relaxed are forced to rethink at the latest when either Google, Outlook or the system administrator are on the mat due to the low storage space. These tips can help you overcome the flood of emails:

  1. Tabula rasa 2.0
    Every beginning is difficult and sometimes just cheating helps. If you would like to get from hundreds or even thousands of unread messages to zero, you actually have only one choice: Mark everything and mark it as “read”. As a precaution, it is advisable to go through the past few weeks to see if an important message has perhaps not slipped through. But then red highlighted or bold digits in the inbox are a thing of the past.
  2. Clear conditions
    How the email inbox is most effectively organized is a very personal matter. Some users benefit from labels and filters, others overwhelmed. Clear conditions always help. This can be such that the actual inbox is only understood as a distribution station. Once an e-mail has been read, it is either immediately deleted, immediately moved to an archive folder or remains in the inbox until a situation has been clarified – however, with the exception of absolutely special cases, only until the end of the working week.
  3. A healthy work-mail balance
    One thing in life is certainty: less than five minutes without a new email. We are digital multitaskers, but we are too easily distracted. So the tip: turn off the beep for new messages and limit yourself to visual notifications. A preview window that is displayed for a few seconds can help to separate important and insignificant mails and save you having to open the mailbox. If there is a task that requires full concentration, the email program is simply closed. That’s fine.
  4. You shouldn’t spam
    Sometimes it’s just our own fault. As soon as the email is sent, we remember things that we have forgotten and more emails will follow. In the worst case, the addressee then replies to each message individually – in chronological order, of course – and the self-created chaos is there. Digital communication tempts you to take quick shots. It can often help to leave a non-urgent email until the end of the working day and only then to send it.


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