I just finished a wonderful little book by S.J. Scott called “Declutter Your Inbox: 9 Proven Steps to Eliminate Email Overload”.
The book describes a number of ways to reduce your inbox clutter — I recommend it. Here are some of the top ones I got from this book and other sources:
– unsubscribe. Ditch any website you are subscribed to — daily or weekly — unless you are absolutely energized by it!
– filter. If you have a VIP list, send them to your “day box”. If you have a bowling club for which you want to read every email, send it to your “bowling box”. Set up just a few boxes, half a dozen or fewer. Keep tabs on these boxes first.
– triage. For other emails, take a few minutes to triage all of them into day box, trash, forward, or “week box”.
– handle once. If you can answer an email in less than 2 minutes during your triage time, do so and be done with it.
– week box. Set aside one time per week to handle your “week box”.
– 5 sentence rule. If it takes much more than 5 sentences to answer the email, plan a brief phone call.
– rid notifications. Ditch the bells, dings, and popups that tell you an email has arrived.
– check twice daily. Check your email twice daily, perhaps before lunch and before dinner.
Your time is valuable. Don’t let others intrude on your day, if you wouldn’t let them into your home or office. For those you value, make sure to follow up quickly. They matter.