Don’t Let Email Hold You Down, Tips on How to Manage Email Overload

We’ve all been there before – Sitting in front of an email box so neat and tidy, we’re beaming with pride. Finally, the day has come when everything has been read, deleted or filed away. When all of a sudden, out of nowhere, one by one, a flurry of emails starts to rapidly zip and zoom their way into your inbox as if out of nowhere the Battleship Galactica (aka your inbox) is under attack. And, before you know it, you have 100+ unread emails in less than an hour.

Did you know… Since January of 2018, here at Systel, the following individuals have received more than 40,000+ emails a piece? In fact, the highest number of emails received is far more than 100,000!

  1. Bob K. – 107,421
  2. Melissa B. – 70,382
  3. Beth R. – 62,824
  4. Michelle S. – 59,763
  5. Danielle W. – 58,899
  6. Michelle P. – 57,559
  7. Janene A. – 56,249
  8. Paul P. – 43,918
  9. Anita W. – 43,610
  10. Jacqueline S. – 43,456

Sure, email can be an effective tool of communications and an avenue to get things moving and done; however, there are times when email can be so overwhelming, it’s just too much. So what’s the best way to deal with email overload?

Here are some tips that can help:

  1. Try Using a Filing System – Not all emails are created equal, so file them away in order of priority. For example, your inbox should only act as a “Holding Pen” for emails. Emails should only stay there long enough for them to be filed away into another folder, such as:
    1. Today – Responses needed by today.
    2. This Week – Emails that need an answer by the end of the week.
    3. This Month/Quarter – Longer-term emails, depending on the need.
    4. FYI – Emails that you want to keep for referring to later only.
  2. Try Alternatives to Email – Remember back in the Stone Age when people actually used to get up from and walk to another person’s location to talk to them? Or, what about that time long ago when folks used to pick up that handheld device – What is it called, again? Oh, yeah a telephone – sitting on their desk and dial a few numbers to actually talk to someone (not text) over the receiver? Don’t forget, there are other methods to communicate besides email!
  3. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid. – The US Navy had it right with their K.I.S.S. design principal from the 1960’s. You see, emails don’t have to be the length of a football field. In fact, they don’t even have to be the length of a full paragraph. Keeping emails short and to the point makes it easier for people to respond. Consider limiting yourself to five lines or less, using bullet points and asking direct questions that need to be answered. This will save a lot of time and back and forth emails in the future.

So the next time you find yourself dodging laser light bullets (incoming emails) aimed at the Battleship Galactica (your inbox) and you begin to feel overwhelmed, just remember these tips. And pretty soon, you’ll be on your way to managing your email rather than letting your email manage you.

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