How often do you check your e-mail? If you have a lot of responsibilities through work, parenthood or something else, chances are you do it often. When you’re so used to being connected 24/7, it can be stressful to be away from your inbox. However, it is definitely important to check that your relationship with your e-mail is a healthy one. Here are our top tips for preventing inbox anxiety.
Organise Your Inbox(es)
What could be more confusing than an overflowing inbox with no order? Begin by creating individual folders. If it’s your work e-mail, these folders could be things like Marketing, Receipts or Campaign. If it’s your personal e-mail, they could be Bills, Payslips and Online Shopping. Starting moving e-mails into these folders. You may also be able to set up an automatic system that puts e-mails from a particular address into a certain folder. As you start getting into the habit of assigning e-mail addresses to a folder, your inbox will become cleaner and you will have to do less manual organising.
Don’t get stuck on mailing lists that aren’t important to you! E-mails from clothing stores, for example, are some of the biggest inbox cloggers. Go through your inbox diligently and unsubscribe from anything that isn’t essential or of interest to you. Most will have a tiny unsubscribe button at the very bottom of the e-mail. My general rule of thumb is that if you don’t shop there often – don’t subscribe to their mailing list. Not only will it take up unnecessary space in your inbox, but it could also tempt you to buy unnecessary products that you wouldn’t otherwise!
Learn How to Write Efficient E-mails
When back and forth e-mails are required to clarify something simple, it can be frustrating and a downright waste of time. Learning to write efficient e-mails is an important skill, as it will ensure your messages are clear and concise for whoever is reading them, resulting in less questions afterwards.
Know When to Forward and Delete
If you receive a work e-mail that isn’t your responsibility – forward it on to the person whose job it is to handle, then delete it. Similarly, diligently delete e-mails that are spam, irrelevant or uninteresting to you. What is the point of keeping them in your inbox if you aren’t going to take action or use them?
Designate “Tech-Free” Time
If you struggle to regulate your e-mail usage throughout the day, it may be better to designate a specific time to go tech-free. For example, during your commute to work, or between six and nine o’clock at night. Recognise the fact that is there is an emergency or something really important – you will probably receive a phone call rather than an e-mail. Spending an hour or two disconnected from your e-mail will give you some much-needed down time and ensure that you are more focused when you are using it. Many professionals choose a certain period of time – for example, the first half an hour at work, to reply to any e-mails they have received overnight or send any important ones.
Recognise the Problem
Are you a workaholic? It can be hard, but you need to admit it. If you’re addicted to your work, it’s likely that you are also addicted to your e-mail – which can be unhealthy and annoying to those around you. While there’s nothing wrong with being dedicated to your job, you should also be dedicated to your loved ones, and not stuck on your phone, tablet or computer 24/7. Learn to focus on work while you’re at work, and family while you’re at home, and friends when you’re with them. Being distracted and enjoying yourself with loved ones is an easy way to take your mind off unread or unsent mail.
Follow these six simple steps and take notice of the effect it has on your inbox anxiety and general well-being. We’re sure it will do you a world of good!