Aunty B: My email inbox is out of control and I’m not getting any work done – Help!

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Dear Aunty B,

I’ve become one of those people I can’t stand – I’m forever complaining about how many emails are in my inbox and my inability to get on top of them.

On a good day, I receive upwards of 150 emails and it feels like I am losing a constant battle. The emails are coming from people both inside and outside of my business and I don’t know how to stay on top of them, let alone get ahead.

Please help!

Swamped,

Melbourne

 

Dear Swamped,

Love it or loathe it, email is still a necessary part of being in business.

While I’ve never been someone who achieves a zero inbox each day – I’d rather spend my time on much more interesting things – I believe it is an absolute must for all professionals to have a strategy for tackling email. For me, that has meant coming up with a folder system, which allows me to file my emails into specific folders and then dedicate time to reviewing those folder regularly.

Another approach – and one favoured by LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner (who I’m sure receives more email than me) – is to use the “mark as unread” function. As Weiner explains in this LinkedIn post, he responds to urgent emails, deletes those that are not needed, and then marks as “unread” the messages he needs to return to.

Weiner also recommends looking at how many emails you send. In fact, his golden rule of email is to “send less of it”.

The more email you send, the more you’ll receive. So this week try only sending an email when absolutely necessary and watch the number of messages in your inbox drop.

Be smart,

Aunty B

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I’m SmartCompany’s resident Agony Aunt. Have a problem to solve? Just ask. @IamAuntyB #AuntyB

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