The advent of email (electronic mail) in workspaces has been both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, while it’s a great medium to communicate with co-workers or bosses and stay informed, it can also be a significant source of stress and distraction, hindering your productivity and causing you to lose focus amidst essential tasks.
Just like the case of Godwin, who arrived at work on a Monday morning, and after opening the week with the usual worker’s meeting, he settled behind his desk on track to get into the day’s work. He opened his email to attend to work-related messages, but instead of a handful, he met an avalanche of digital chaos. Hundreds of unread emails stared back at him, begging for his scrambled attention.
As an employee or employer, you’d probably be able to relate to Godwin’s struggles. It’s like the universe decided to hit you with every single email it could find, all at once, which is taking its toll on your productivity.
Even with excellent management skills, email overload is a real problem that plagues many of us. But some strategies can help you streamline your inbox and stay productive, even in the face of this overwhelming digital clutter.
In this article, we’ll explore some practical tips and tricks for taming your inbox and taking control of your digital life. But before then, let’s define email overload.
What’s Email Overload?
In plain language, email overload refers to the feeling overwhelmed by the number of emails one receives and the difficulty of managing them effectively, thereby breeding stress and anxiety.
Receiving excessive emails that are irrelevant or of low importance or simply need more time to dedicate to maintaining one’s inbox can lead to this overload.
In today’s digital age, where email is a popular method of contact for many people and businesses, the stress and anxiety gotten from an overload invariably leads to decreased productivity.
Causes of Email Overload
Some common causes of email overload include;
1. Increased Reliance On Email
With the widespread adoption of email as a primary communication tool in personal and professional settings, people are receiving more emails than ever before, causing overload.
2. Lack Of Prioritization
Without a system for prioritizing emails, it can be challenging to manage and respond to messages effectively, leading to a feeling of being overwhelmed.
3. Email Notifications
Email notifications can be a significant source of distraction and add to email overload. In addition, the constant barrage of reminders might impede productivity and increase feelings of stress and tension.
4. Lack Of Email Etiquette
Frequent abuse of email by sending pointless or imprecise messages, responding to every message when it is not essential, and failing to use email subjects, causes draining, in the long run.
5.Poor Email Administration
Poor email management can make it harder to find crucial emails and add to the feeling of overload.
Now, moving on to the crux of this article — Strategies To Help You Streamline Your Inbox, And Keep You Productive As Ever.
1. Set Designated Time To Attend To Your Email
Getting caught up in the never-ending cycle of checking your email occasionally is unavoidable. Instead, try setting specific times to check your email throughout the day. For example, you can check it first thing in the morning, during a work break, and before leaving. This way, you can focus on your work without being interrupted by new emails every few minutes.
2. Create Templates
Consider creating templates if you often respond to the same kinds of emails. This way, you can save time using a pre-written response instead of repeatedly typing out the same message.
3. Use Filters & Labels
Most email services have filters and labels that allow you to sort your emails automatically. For instance, you could set up a filter to automatically route all emails from your employer to a particular folder. This way, you don’t have to waste time searching your inbox for important emails.
4. Hit The Unsubscribe Button
We all have those unwanted newsletters we signed up for at some point, either for a discount or to gain knowledge on a specific subject. However, if you are not reading them, it is time to unsubscribe. Doing so will reduce the number of unwanted emails in your inbox significantly.
5. Turn Off Notifications
Notifications can be distracting, so you should turn them off. However, if you’re worried about missing important emails, set up specific alerts for emails from certain people.
In conclusion, even though you can’t get rid of emails completely, their overload can be eliminated. Email overload doesn’t have to be a never-ending nightmare. By implementing these strategies, you can streamline your inbox, and keep on being productive.