How to take control of your inbox

By: IT Donut contributor

Date: 21 January 2014

How to take control of your inbox/mailslot{{}}Email is a massive drain on productivity for many businesses. It’s not hard to see why. An inbox stuffed with thousands of unread messages is par for the course, making it easy to get sucked into a spiral of doom that goes as you try to discern what’s important.

It’s tempting to hit the delete button to purge the lot and hope anything important will somehow make its way back to you.

But while it might be cathartic, wiping out your inbox will not help you gain control. Like a crash diet, it will all pile back on eventually.

Instead, here are five to put you in charge of your inbox, for good:

1. Keep it secure

Email security should be top priority when managing your inbox. With so much valuable data in there around, it’s essential you’re confident that it’s secure.

Threats include malware, spam, phishing and data leaks. While they can seem complex, taking some basic IT security precautions will go a long way to keeping you safe. You can also purchase software and tools to boost your security.

2. Start unsubscribing

Virtually every website you encounter will try to lure you into subscribing to updates and it’s very easy to forget just how many you’ve signed yourself up to.

Until, that is, your inbox is stuffed senseless with newsletters and promotions that you have no interest in. Be ruthless: do you really need to receive details of every promotion and special offer that’s going on?

3. Don’t put off responding

While it might be easy to push aside emails and deal with them later, you know it will most likely never happen.

Instead, you end up with a growing pile of unread mail that seems to reproduce all by itself. Act on each email straight away and decide whether it needs a response or whether you can just delete it.

4. Be more organised

Nearly every email package allows you to create folders for your email, so make use of this feature.

It’s wise to create logical divisions based on your workflow or needs. For example, if you have several clients to manage, having a folder for each will help keep communication clear and organised. You can even categorise personal email into groups like family, friends and purchases.

5. Standardise replies

A cookie cutter template email might seem like a horribly impersonal way of responding.

However, if you find yourself sending the same message over and over again to different people, it can be a good way to minimise the time you need to spend on email.

This is a guest post from Ben Williams, on behalf of Mimecast email security.

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