In 2017, email users sent and received over 269 billion emails each day. While that number is enough to make you widen your eyes, there’s more to come. In the year 2022, the figure is projected to reach 333 billion per day.
With this onslaught of too many emails, what is this doing to our productivity? How is this affecting our mental processes?
Unless we get email under control, we are looking at serious challenges in our business and personal lives. As email crowds into our evenings after work and distracts us from important communication throughout the day, what is the solution?
Continue reading this article to learn how to deal with email overload and get ahead for once.
Problems with Too Many Emails
Even if you think you’re in charge of your inbox game, take a look. Do you have unread emails in your main folder? Are there emails you need to reply to, but you can’t find them amidst the mess?
We all understand organized chaos, but is your inbox more chaos than organization?
When your work inbox is clogged with emails, it makes all of your tasks more difficult. Tasks like internal communication, client follow up, and closing business can get lost in the shuffle.
If your email is causing more harm than good, you have to get your inbox under control and here are some tips that will help you do just that.
Getting Your Inbox to 0
Ah — the ever elusive inbox 0. Is it even possible? The white rabbit of email.
Yes! You can get your inbox to 0 and what’s even better is that you can keep it there. Imagine at the end of the day, you go into your email to tidy up and go home with an inbox at 0.
When you go to your inbox, you need to have a little time to get things done. If you aren’t able to take care of your email right now — just don’t go there. Checking email gives us a sense of satisfaction in knowing how important we are, but you need to remember the reason you’re going is really to get things done.
When you go to your inbox, quickly scan through any email there. You’ll be able to notice some things that are not important. If you are never going to read these emails, go ahead and hit the delete button.
Many times we keep these unimportant emails because we think we might read them later. Unless you need them don’t read them. Delete those emails.
If you see emails that don’t look safe, delete them just to be safe. You should also check your company’s cybersecurity protocols.
Now that you have all of the unimportant emails out of the way and in the trash, it’s time for a quick file. Have a folder that you place all of the emails that you need to reply to, another for any invoices, and any other important categories.
If you have emails that you think you may need to search through later, but they don’t really have a specific label, you can send them to your archive. Archiving is a simple click and is great when you can’t make a decision on what to do with an email.
Be careful how many emails you just send to the archive because your email storage may get too full.
What’s the Real Problem?
Some companies think the best solution to the problem is to totally phase out email altogether. While this might seem like a good solution since email is a problem, in fact, email is only a problem if you don’t use it properly.
If there is too much internal emailing going on, the real problem is a communication problem. Most companies that have a lot of emails going back and forth don’t have a proper communication policy.
When you look at the emails going back and forth, they are usually requests for meetings or rescheduling meetings. If everyone has the information they need to move forward, these meeting requests are reduced.
How Can You Use Email as a Productivity Tool?
The first thing you need to make sure of is that you’re not contributing to the overwhelm. If you’re sending a lot of emails throughout the day, think about why you’re sending them. Could you walk a couple of offices down and simply tell your coworker what you wanted to say?
The fewer emails you send, the fewer emails you will receive since most people will reply to those emails. If you’re copying anyone on those emails, you’re contributing to the problem even more.
If you’re sending emails to keep people in the loop, ask yourself if all of those people really need to be in the loop. If someone doesn’t need the information in the email, take them out of the loop.
Email is a great tool but shouldn’t be used to communicate about important decisions. If you need a quick answer or something but you don’t have time to wait to catch them on the phone then email is a great tool.
Determine what things are best dealt with through email and everything else you should either speak via the phone or in person. It is understandable that people are more difficult to get a hold of all of the time but if you make a schedule and stick to it, everyone can get the meeting out of the way and be on about their day.
Using email wisely will keep it from getting banned company-wide. Most companies won’t go to those lengths but if you’re in a company that bans emails, it could be problematic for your productivity.
Create a Business That Works Like Clock Work
If you’re tired of worrying about things like too many emails, you have to put processes in place to optimize your operation.
Read our article about optimizing your business’ operation to ensure you have the systems in place that will support business function.