The holidays are over and here we are yet again, face-to-face with the greatest challenge that every New Year brings – the current state of your inbox. To help you shake those holiday cobwebs off and power through that growing pile of unread emails (before it grows even more!), here are a couple of quick and easy tips that you can follow:
Sweeping the inbox for newsletters, autoresponders and more.
Returning to an inbox with more than a thousand unread emails is not really the best welcome that you can receive, more so if you’re coming from a relaxing vacation. But as daunting as that number of unread emails may be, there’s a really good chance that out of those 1,000 new emails, only a handful actually needs your attention. The key, however, is finding these important emails.
That being said, the best first step that you can take is to just simply brave the flooding – in your inbox, I mean. Remember, you are coming off of the holidays and this equates to countless holiday greetings and auto-responders that you can simply skim over and stash away in a folder. While going through your entire inbox may take you a while, it will truly be worth it.
At the end of the day, what you’ll get from this is a clean inbox that is way easier to manage than how it originally looked like. Also, who doesn’t love that sweet satisfying feeling of seeing your unread emails go from 937 to 15, right? It’s probably going to be your first highlight of 2019.
Organize your actionable emails
Now that your inbox is all squeaky clean and all that remain are those that require follow-up actions, a next good step to take is to organize these based on three simple categories: priority, difficulty and similarity. In other words, you’ll be categorizing your actionable emails based on how soon they need to be accomplished (priority), how easy or difficult it is to accomplish them (difficulty) and lastly, whether there are tasks that are similar in nature (similarity).
The idea behind this is for you to group together tasks that have similar characteristics and to use that to your advantage. By organizing as so, you can then proceed to work your way through your actionable emails starting from the easiest and fastest ones to resolve towards the larger ones that require more time or coordination – or whichever way works best for you!
This is more of an exercise towards managing your energy as you trudge your way through your actionable emails, allowing you to be more productive without having to fully exhaust yourself.
Just dive in
At the end of the day, these two tips will be for naught if not for one key step that you need to take as soon as you get back to work. That’s to simply get started.
I understand that it’s hard to transition from a relaxing vacation to the frantic hustle and bustle of office all in a single day. But there is no question about it, our inboxes and backlog will only get worse if we keep delaying.
So, how about we fill those mugs with coffee, crack those knuckles and start powering through that inbox. If it gets too much at any point in time, think of it this way, we’re only 50+ weeks away from the holidays anyway.