Six Simple Steps to Control and Reduce Your Inbox Stress

Six Simple Steps to Control and Reduce Your Inbox Stress

In this digital age, email, text messaging,and the use of other messaging applications are some of the means of communication. It is important to be organized and be on top of those messages that come through.

Annette will share with us today six simple steps on how to control your inbox and to reduce stress on what comes along with it. This is one of the significant steps that you have to do to fully maximize your time because checking and responding to messages can take so much of your time. You may also feel overwhelmed with the amount of messages that you receive and may cause stress.

With the six steps that Annette will share, it can save you plenty of time, reduce stress, and be able to control all your incoming messages. Best is to stay tuned and take notes of these steps.

Highlights of this episode:

  • How to control your inbox
  • Make a schedule on when to check and respond to messages
  • Setup rules and filters of messages based on certain criteria
  • Utilize different applications in scheduling emails
  • Unsubscribe to different mailing list that you are no longer interested

Resources:

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Introduction

Welcome to the Financial and lifestyle Freedom Podcast with me, Annette Ferguson. In this episode, I'm going to speak about how I cut down on email overload and share with you six simple tips for you to reduce your inbox stress. So let's dive in and welcome to the podcast. And for those of you who don't know me, my name, as I said, is Annette Ferguson and I am CEO of Annette and Co, a UK based accounting firm. I am a chartered accountant, certified Profit First professional and small business growth strategist. And I know how it feels to have an overflowing inbox.  It's stressful and it seems like there is never enough time in the day to get everything done. But don't worry, because in this episode, I'm going to share with you my six simple tips that can help you take control of your inbox and reduce the stress that comes along with it. 

Why do you need to manage your email inbox?

Of course, in today's digital age, it is more important than ever to stay organized and keep on top of all those messages that come in through the different apps and technology that we live with in our pocket every day. And a recent study found that the average person spends nearly two hours checking and responding to emails each day. That's nearly 10 hours every single week. And I don't even want to add up what that looks like over a month or a year. For business owners managing your inbox can be stressful and overwhelming. I have been there. 

The Six Steps to Reduce your Inbox Stress

Step 1 - Setting a special time of the day to check emails

However, if you follow some of these six simple steps, you can reduce your inbox stress and maintain productivity.  So number one is creating a specific time each day to check your email and respond to messages. Block this time in your diary. This is one that I was incredibly resistant to at first.  I was one of those people that always had my email open in the background of whatever I was doing that day, but in today's world that leads to overwhelm very, very quickly. So to stay on top of your inbox, try creating a specific time each day to check and respond to messages. Block off this time in your diary so you can stay focused and avoid getting pulled into other tasks. You might also want to set a limit on the number of emails that you are going to respond to during this time period. By being intentional about when you check your emails, you can reduce email overwhelm and manage your time more effectively. In most businesses, there is rarely an emergency that will come in via email, which means that for the most part, there is rarely a business owner that needs to sit with their email client open all the time. 

Step 2 - Setting up rules

And the second tip is setting up rules in your email client that will automatically file or delete messages based on a certain criteria. If your inbox feels like it's a never ending to do list, it might be time to set up some rules. By creating filters, you can automatically file or even delete messages based on certain criteria, making it easier to manage your inbox. For example, you could set up a rule that automatically deletes all messages with the word unsubscribe in the subject line. Or you could create a filter that moves all the messages from key clients into a separate folder. I also have rules set up so that certain emails are auto forwarded to people in my team and they actually bypass my inbox altogether and just go straight into my archive. I know for example, during onboarding, if we have emails that have gone out that clients are responding to, if they are responding to my email address for those,  often I am actually not the one that's going to action those emails and so I can set up auto forwarding on those subject lines to go to the person that is going to be dealing with that email. With this, the options are endless and in all honesty, the relief is instantaneous. This has had a massive impact on my inbox alone. Oh if email overwhelm is ruining your life then consider setting up some of these rules to help keep things under control. 

Step 3 - Use programs like Boomerang

And the third thing is using programs like Boomerang to schedule emails to be sent at a later date or time. Boomerang allows you to schedule emails to be sent at a later date, which can be helpful when you need to get in touch with someone but you don't want your message to get lost in the shuffle. It can also be useful for sending reminders or follow ups. And if you're working across time zones, it can help ensure your messages arrive at a convenient time for the recipient. So if you're looking for ways to reduce overwhelm, try Boomerang to schedule your emails. 

Step 4 - Unsubscribe from mailing list

And number four, unsubscribe from mailing lists that you no longer want to see, receive messages from. Now this can feel like an incredibly daunting task, especially if you're on a lot of mailing lists. There used to be apps that were able to do this for you. But with the introduction of GDPR  in the UK, those apps were no longer able to access your information. And it means that they can't be used in the UK any longer, which means that you do need to start going through things one by one. Now, instead of setting four hours aside, to go through your inbox painstakingly, what might be worthwhile to do is for the next month. Write down that your daily-to-do is to unsubscribe. So every time you do go into your email, you can go to those emails that you no longer want to receive, that you can unsubscribe from and every day make that a small task to unsubscribe to those that you no longer want to see. Rather than having to do it in bulk and spend a huge amount of time in a one hour on it, that can be a lot easier than having the time set aside to just do it as a small piece every day. But it will then make sure that the things that are in your inbox are actually things that you want to see in your inbox. 

Step 5 - Use ‘Out of Office’ feature

And number five.  You can make use of the 'out of office' feature to let people know your email response times and direct others in the team who might be better placed to deal with specific emails. Your 'out of office' doesn't only need to be set when you are actually out of the office. Perhaps people email you with something that is always more important to have your team look at than yourself. You can set an auto response using the out of office function so that you can redirect their inquiry. You can say if you're emailing me about X, Y, and Zed, please send your email to this person. 

Step 6 - Remove email app from your phone

And number six, removing emails from your phone to avoid temptation to check them all the time. This is something again that I struggled with massively. And in true transparency, I do have emails on my phone now, but I have got so good at the first point checking my emails at specific times of day that I actually really don't go into my email client on my phone, unless it is one of those blocks of time. Because checking email obsessively can be a huge time-suck. Constantly refreshing your inbox in search of the elusive new message can be a major source of distraction and anxiety. And if you want to take back control of your time, one of the best things you can do is actually delete the email app from your phone. That way you won't be able to check messages every five minutes, you won't be tempted to do it when you're sitting on the sofa of an evening with your family, or when you're out at the zoo with your kids. This can help you focus on the task in hand and give you much needed break from the constant stream of information. So if you're looking for a way to reduce email overwhelm, deleting the app from your phone might be a great place to start.  

Closing

By taking control of your inbox and using some of these simple tips, you can easily become more productive with your email correspondence, and really cut down on that email overwhelm that I know most of us suffer from. Try out one or more of these ideas and see which is going to work best for you and your business. Thank you for tuning in today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, please do leave us a review in whichever podcast player you happen to be listening in. I would also love it if you want to make sure that you hit that subscribe button again, in whichever player you happen to be listening. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. Take care and I'll speak to you soon.

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About the Author

Owner of Annette & Co. - Chartered Accountants & Certified Profit First Professionals. Helping online service-based entrepreneurs find clarity in their numbers, increase wealth and have more money in their pockets.

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