3 ways to use your inbox to get your work done

email inboxYou’ve probably heard of (and likely experienced) the battle of the inbox. I work with so many people who have a love/hate relationship with their email mailbox. There’s no doubt, it can be a source of frustration, stress and distraction. However; email is likely your primary communication tool at work

So I’m here to help you make friends with your email again, and use it to accomplish your important work. Here are 3 ways to get your started:

1 . Create templates for repeatable content

If you find yourself inputting the same content over and over again, you’re the perfect candidate for templates. In Google it’s called Canned Responses and in Outlook it’s called QuickParts. Think of it as reusing pieces of content and inserting the pre-formatted content you’ve created into your messages.

No more recreating the wheel or having to open a Word document and cutting and pasting the content into your email. Now that content is at your fingertips … right in your email system.

2.  Control when your emails get sent

Setting boundaries with the external world when it comes to your availability is so important to your wellbeing and preventing burnout. However, sometimes you may need to sneak a peek at your inbox in the evenings … and sometimes even send emails too. The trick is to be stealth when you’re doing it and not let others know you’re online. How? By taking control of when the emails get sent. Both Google and Outlook easily let you schedule when an email gets sent out. Google uses an app called Boomerang and Outlook has a setting called Delay Delivery, located in the Ribbon.

3.  Disconnect while doing your important work

Have you ever tried to focus on a project, only to be interrupted by the annoying pings and dings every time an email lands in your inbox? Those noises distract your attention and ultimately waste your time because it takes you minutes to regain your train of thought.

Anytime you’re doing focused work, turn off  email notifications, or better yet, shut your email down completely. If this suggestion makes you feel uncomfortable, do it in baby steps. Start with 30 minutes and work yourself up to an hour. You’ll be amazed at how much work you’re able to get done. Remember: Your inbox is full of other people’s priorities. Tweet that.

Try at least one of these 3 suggestions and let me know which works best for you!

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