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Detox Your Inbox to Improve your Wellbeing

 

Overwhelmed by consistent emails, a messy inbox and the urge to respond immediately? Don’t worry – you’re not the only one. It’s time to take back your precious time and address your inbox with a little mindfulness.

Let me ask this one question first. How often do you check your emails a day?

Like you I bet it was more than five times in a day. Six months I was checking my inbox first thing in the morning, after breakfast, again when I logged into my inbox, then again around lunch and well again just because and it goes on into the night. It was sucking up my energy.

I was consumed by what was happening in my inbox and wasn’t observing what was around me. I started missing out on little moments; I was wasting time and just felt overwhelmed by a list of emails that needed attention.

Needless to say it was time to detox my inbox and bring awareness around how I use it.

According to Carleton University researchers, people who work from home spend half of their day reading and answering emails. No wonder we feel like we are not getting ahead.

When faced with the desire to check your inbox, you need to start ask yourself:

Do I really need to check my email right now?

Why am I getting so many emails?

Why have I forgotten to respond to some emails?

Let’s take this opportunity to go over six ways you can detox your inbox so that you can improve your wellbeing and don’t feel like your inbox owns you.

Six tips to detox your inbox right now:

Inbox Audit – Delete, remove and unsubscribe

Go through all the emails you are receiving and take time to evaluate the ones that are actually serving you right now. Unsubscribe from email lists that don’t interest you anymore or that you never open. Email PR companies that have added you to their list and ask to be removed if the information that they are delivering to you is not relevant.  Make sure spam is going into your spam folder.

Treat your inbox like a filing cabinet

Set up folders to file away emails that don’t need to be sitting in your inbox.  Once you have replied to someone, the email does not need to stay in your inbox. Keeping only fresh emails in your inbox is less overwhelming than having hundreds sitting in there at a time. You may also find it useful to assign folders for your incoming emails, knowing which folder to tackle first when responding.

Respond immediately

You should respond to your emails immediately so that you can remove that email from your inbox. But this does not mean you should be checking your emails every ten minutes. Schedule in a maximum of three sessions a day dedicated to email responding.

Answer emails concisely

When responding to emails it is best to answer them straight to the point. Give clear answers and provide as much information as necessary so you can minimize future email correspondence.  When you respond clearly and concisely you will no doubt also get a response of a similar nature in return.

Don’t leave them hanging

Never leave an open-ended question in your email – it just begs for a response and for the conversation to continue. Questions lengthen communication. However, if you need to ask questions do so by thinking it through clearly and adding any additional questions in bullet form. This makes it easy to spot and answer them.  Often people will reply by copying/pasting the bullet points, which makes finding your answers easier too. Is there a better method for the conversation

Is there a better method for the conversation

Often emails are unavoidable, but sometimes the conversation could be solved with a ten-minute phone call. This could save loads of time for you. You may like to have a personal conversation to figure out the details by organizing one meeting to address any questions instead of reading and responding to a string of five emails

By applying these six tips to your inbox and creating new daily habits that support a harmonious relationship with your inbox will leave you with more time to do more of what you love.

 

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Great tips thanks Lizzie! This was SO me last year. I was doing it first thing and it (like you mentioned) sucked out all my energy and I would feel drained before I even started my “real work.” Now I do my projects first thing in the morning when I have the most energy, and respond to emails later in the day. Seems to be working well! Also unsubscribing to a bunch of newsletters was super helpful too.

    1. In the last two weeks, I have unsubscribed to 12 email lists. I was never opening the emails they just cluttered it up. So I created a bookmark for those pages so when I do want to stop by for more information from them. I just look them up. So simple. And then it is on my own terms 🙂

  2. I’m good at unsubscribing to the emails I don’t open anymore, but I have a huge sense of dread about ‘what if there’s something that needs urgent attention’ in my inbox feelings – it stems from my day job in healthcare! I can definitely improve by only checking a couple of times a day and hoping it quells the fear feeling!

    1. Claire, I love this, and only checking your personal inbox a few times a day is liberating and if you manage it well, it will never leave you feeling like you have missed something important. Only what needs actioning is left in your inbox. The rest is filed away for another day.

  3. I religiously clear out my inbox on a daily basis. My personal email account is however a different story. At the last count I had 3000 plus unread messages!

    1. Chris, it’s funny how we can separate our personal and business emails. However, if I were you I would sort that inbox out too.

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