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A 6-minute read
I find myself rabidly devouring posts on how to increase my productivity, especially when it comes to learning new ways for me to be productive with my inbox management. Yes, despite my best efforts, there are still far too many days where I’m guilty of not answering all my emails. The last few weeks have been especially hectic, as Unified Inbox has been launching new products and welcoming new team members. We were very excited to onboard our first class in Unified Inbox’s Global Internship Program, where we used social media to find and vet interns from Kuala Lumpur to Pennsylvania. This week, I asked some of our new interns to share with you some of their personal experiences managing email and email overload, especially when starting a new job. Here are some of their tips on how to win your fight with email overload!
3 Steps on How to Win Your Fight with Email Overload
1. Email is not instant messaging
As we use email for many different types of communications, it’s helpful to keep in mind that is really is more effective at times to just pick up the phone and talk to the person. This is especially true when you find yourself at an impasse, waiting for someone to respond to you. You may be able to identify with Marta Gaspar’s experience (Marta is one of our new Unified Inbox interns):
“Over the years, I was glued to the laptop and mobile phone like my career depended on it, stopping whatever task I was doing every time a notification popped up. Against my will, Gmail became my daily companion, and an empty inbox became my personal “Shangri-la”. An imaginative, mystical place that I never actually saw, and began wondering if it truly existed. When I began treating emails like instant messages, I knew it was time to rethink the way I was using email.”
All communications channels are not the same, and for the sake of our productivity — and our sanity — it’s worthwhile to learn how to use them productively and efficiently.
2. Email overload needs a 5-D framework
Unified Inbox’s founder and CEO, Toby Ruckert describes the future of inbox management on his own blog. He shares his 5-D framework for email management, which became the inspiration for our Unified Inbox product which is currently in beta testing (and yes, being our flagship product, it’s the same name as the company!). Since all of Unified Inbox’s employees work on our communications solutions, our new intern Jamey Laughland stress-tested the 5-D framework and reported his findings. Here’s Jamey explaining the 5-D framework:
“The first ‘D’ is to ‘deal’ with it. I think this is excellent advice, because my first instinct when opening my email is to look at every message and absorb the information. Then, I decide which actions need to be taken. If I deal with the information first, it’s much more efficient.
The second D is to delegate. This is something that I personally should do more. I tend to try to think of all the possible ways that I can accomplish a task before delegating it to someone else.
The third D is to delete. This is my favorite of the five Ds because it removes clutter. It gives me room to think and process more important emails. I like to have my inbox filled with just important emails, so I delete everything that is useless.
The fourth D is to defer. Deferring to a later date can be a useful strategy. I still prefer to have my inbox clean and clutter free, so I don’t usually defer tasks to a different day
The last D is distribute. It reminds me to think about publishing relevant emails to social media. It also helps me to do it more naturally instead of overwhelming my network with posts all at once.”
It may sound simple, but consciously creating the inbox process that works best for each of us saves an incredible amount of time and stress.
3. Email management is a never-ending beta
Do you notice how we all have those phases when emails seem never-ending because we are working on a brand new project? Email flows have increased for everyone, which is why we’re more productive when we actively manage them instead of letting them manage us. It’s important to understand that it’s not a static process, and what may have worked great for you two years ago, may actually be ineffective now. Marta, shares her own story on this point saying,
“As the day goes along, the emails, and interruptions, quickly become constant. The flow of information can be overwhelming and my inbox quickly becomes a mess again, forcing me to have to go back and organize it all over again.”
What are some of your tips for managing the information overload of an overflowing inbox?
Tweet your tips to us on @unifiedinbox!
About the author:
Upasna is Unified Inbox’s Digital Storyteller. Upasna is also the Co-Founder of Content Marketing & Branding Firm, Brandanew. Her previous experiences include: Rocket Internet, Experteer and McKinsey & Co. She has been a blogger since 2003 and currently lives in Ludwigsburg, Germany.