Email management can be a real struggle for many people. With the constant influx of digital messages, it can feel like we are constantly falling behind and losing control of our inbox. But the good news is, it is possible to take control of your email and stay on top of it.
Like many things in life, it takes effort and a willingness to change your behavior. There is no easy fix, but the investment is well worth it. When you are not on top of your email, it can eat away at your self-confidence and even hurt your career.
So, how can you become an email ninja? In my experience, it all comes down to four key behaviors:
Empty your inbox every day
This should be your goal. You want to be able to go to sleep with every message processed, even if you don’t answer every message.
Make Quick Decisions
Don’t get bogged down, keep moving. Once you start processing your inbox, move quickly. Read each message once and ask yourself, “Is this message actionable?” If so, there are only three possible actions:
Do: Take action on the task now, if it can be done in less than two minutes.
Delegate: Pass the task along to someone else.
Defer: Consciously decide to do the task later, and schedule an appointment with yourself to complete it.
Non Actionable Emails
If the message is not actionable, you have two options:
Delete: If you don’t think you will need the information later.
File: If you think you might need the information, file it. But avoid creating an elaborate set of folders. Just file everything in Archives. Forget about complicated filing systems. It will only lead to procrastination. Trust me on this.
By following these behaviors, you can take control of your inbox and become an email ninja. It may take some effort and discipline, but the investment is well worth it.
Email management is an essential survival skill, and one that can greatly improve your self-confidence and career.