Well, here we are again! Watching the last year fade into the distance and embarking on a new one, setting our goals and aspirations for the days ahead.
Personally, my 2016 resolution is to amp-up my organization game, particularly as it pertains to my inbox. At times, emails and messages can arrive “fast and furious” and begin piling up on my screen. Even with the best of intentions, by mid-February, true to form, my inbox has descended back into chaos, and I know I’m not alone.
But what’s the solution? How do we keep our inboxes trim and efficient, while simultaneously staying “in the loop” in the office and keeping on top of communication with clients, but without taking a scorched earth, erase-all strategy?
Before getting all trigger-happy with the delete button, a better idea is to take a proactive approach to handling emails in 2016. Here are a few (very) simple reminders to help us keep our inboxes from over-inflating in the New Year:
1) Read every email at least once, and then decide whether to delete or file it. I try to remember that if it was important enough for someone to take the time to send, it’s important enough for me to read. Furthermore, how can I decide if an email is important or not if I haven’t taken the time to at least read it?
2) If you’re being copied on something unnecessarily, be sure to verify with the sender as to their reasoning for including you, but also let them know (politely!) to exclude you from those communications in the future. The most common cause of inbox backlog is the dreaded mass-email. If you don’t need to be included, speak up!
3) Similarly, if you’re sent materials that are unhelpful or irrelevant, let the sender know right away by requesting the correct materials. Remember to be clear and concise when making requests to avoid confusion—back-and-forth messages begin to add up quickly!
4) Finally, if you have asked for a report or document to be created, read it. Remember, that report or document you requested represents someone’s work, and, therefore, is inherently valuable—don’t leave it hanging in the matrix!
For a more realistic (and hilarious!) look at how office email typically plays-out, check out Tripp & Tyler’s take on “Email in Real Life”.