How to cope with a deluge of emails

If the email deluge has clogged up your inbox, we have some good news for you. You can achieve "Inbox Zero".

With so many of us working from home, emailing is on the rise. While email is a great tool to helps us in our jobs, it can also get out of hand, cause you anxiety and damage your productivity.

If the email deluge has clogged up your inbox, we have some good news for you. You can achieve Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero, a state of improved email management. Here’s how, using D-BUFS.

Delete

If you haven’t been deleting emails, then we have some news for you: You’re an email hoarder.

Perhaps a little voice in your head tells you not to delete anything “just in case”. Or you like seeing those little red “ears” on your phone. But once you’ve read and actioned an email, how likely are you to access it again?

While there are definitely good reasons to keep and archive important emails, be ruthless with those promotional emails, company updates or notes from friends. Use Microsoft, Google or Apple’s tools to focus on known senders, and not on spray mail that goes to everyone.

Be realistic

Inbox Zero is not literally an empty inbox. You’ll always need to store important emails or come back to others at a later time. The idea is to action and sort your emails regularly to reduce efforts for your future self. Delete and unsubscribe ruthlessly and be realistic about how much time you really have for emails. Use your email client’s tools to keep you focused.

Unsubscribe

It’s tempting to remain subscribed to emails you hope to have the time to read “one day.” But unsubscribing from these helps reduce distraction… and let’s face it, you probably won’t miss them.

Take a look at your subscriptions and be honest with yourself about which emails you open and which you don’t. Just remember, you can always re-subscribe again in the future. The greatest tool is Apple’s “unsubscribe” feature on your phone – it unsubscribes for you.

Filter

A lot of companies are sending more updates during COVID-19. If you’re suddenly getting spammed with COVID updates from every company you’ve ever made a purchase from, then it’s time to create a new rule.

Go into your inbox settings and apply a rule or a filter. This sends non-urgent messages to your spam or promotional labels, rather than your primary inbox.

Sort

When you receive a new email, read it and action it. Next, it’s time to either delete it or sort it into a relevant folder or label. This declutters your primary inbox, saves time, and reduces stress.

Do this at designated times throughout the day so that you don’t get sucked into the email-vortex.

“The interest you pay on email you’re reluctant to deal with is compounded every day and, in all likelihood, it’s what’s led you to feeling like such a useless slacker today.” -Merlin Mann, productivity expert.

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