3 Simple Ways to Conquer your Inbox

You may feel like just bunging the whole lot in the junk mail folder, but there are better ways to deal with a constantly choc-full inbox.

In my experience, the best form of attack is prevention – to stop those irrelevant emails appearing in your inbox full stop. After all, it can take around half a day to read and deal with 100 emails, and 5 minutes to recover from a 30 second distraction.

So, here are 3 simple ways to conquer your inbox.

1.       Ban the use of the company contact group

(Unless it’s absolutely necessary, of course.)

We all receive those pointless messages, either sent with the belief that the contents is crucially important to everyone in the company, or sent lazily, as one person can’t be bothered to search thorough their contacts.

Yes, it’s lovely that you’re having a Birthday party for Brenda from Finance after work on Friday, but as 80% of the company have never met Brenda, excuse us, but we won’t be attending.

Whatever the tenuous subject line, a blanket ban on selecting that group should be imposed. Make sure there are adequate contact groups set up across the company, so Mike from Finance can invite just Finance and a few choice others to Brenda’s Birthday do in Hooters.

A simple way to achieve this is to remove the company contact group altogether for the majority of employees, though leave it available to those who really need it (directors, directors’ secretaries, department heads, etc.). Et voila, an almost instant reduction in irrelevant messages.

2.       Ban the “Reply all” function

(Again, unless it’s absolutely necessary.)

We all know that “Reply all” is one of the most irritating things a person can do in email. Yet people still do it.

Make sure everyone in your company knows that there are almost no situations in which everyone needs to know one person’s response. If someone says “let me know”, let them know, not anyone else.

3.       Install a PM service

Encourage employees to use PMs rather than emails for quick questions or things that need to be answered rapidly.

If your company doesn’t have a PM provider, Skype is one of the best free ones to use, and is quick and simple to install. Host a file on your intranet with everyone’s usernames, broken up by department, and encourage employees to just add those they’re actually going to message to their contact list.

Skype also enables people to create groups, which is particularly useful for questions that just need a yes/no answer from a select few, or acknowledgement of the message (which if sent by email could result in 10 one-word emails).

These 3 simple ideas can make a huge difference to the amount of emails you receive in the first place, and can drastically reduce the size of everyone’s inbox, saving you time that you could otherwise be finishing those crucial reports, or watching funny videos of cats on YouTube.

Do you have any more suggestions on how to conquer your inbox?

Jasmine Ayres blogs for ConNetU, a leading provider of dedicated servers. She writes to inform and assist businesses on IT matters, whether it be how to manage emails, or what colo services to choose.