How to Clear your Inbox

by criticalhit009

Within the past two years, I became somewhat preoccupied with “Lifehacking.” Part of this stemmed from a healthy desire to improve my life, whether it be learning about financial advice or better way to clean a home.

The unhealthy aspects of life hacking is a subject for another day, but for now, I shall revel in a touch in the life hacking language and present my tips on how to keep a clean inbox.

1: Respond to emails as soon as possible

If you have the ability to answer a question or respond to a problem when you get the email, follow through immediately. This is something that takes energy and presence of mind, that latter I find you eventually accumulate over time. For the former, I find that I became unreachable during the more stressful times in undergrad, and the didn’t have the energy to properly respond to even the simplest of tasks sometimes. One could say hat an email inbox is reflective of life, both in terms of events and activities, and perhaps even mental health. To bring this back around to my point, clean out your inbox regularly to have a clean (er) mind.

2: If you don’t know the answer yet, say so.

Often you may be asked a question or someone requires your input that you just can’t give yet. If this is the case (and time is pressuring the emailer), be transparent when you’ll get the required information, and if possible, give an accurate estimation of when you’ll get back to them. This helps keep communication and expectations clear, and gives you a deadline to propel you. This self-imposed deadline should be maintained, however, as failure to uphold your promise shows you to be unreliable.

3: Use other tools to prioritize 

Some people use their email as a to-do list, or let emails pile up in their inboxes as reminders of events and meetings. I used to to this in undergrad. It is not a good practice. Using a calendar to schedule events and meetings will be much more useful, as you can plan out when you are and are not available. Archive important emails, delete non-essential ones.

4: Unsubscribe

Do you follow a publication through Facebook or Twitter, or have it set as a favourite website in your bookmarks? Then you likely don’t need their daily email. Unsubscribe.

Did you sign an online petition, and find you are getting emails from the affiliated organization you don’t want? Unsubscribe.

Taking the time to unsubscribe at the first instance will save you more time rather than deleting every email you get you don’t need. Command + F for Mac and Ctrl + F for Windows to find text like “unsubscribe” or other similar phrases quickly on an email.

5: Do a weekly sweep

As you cull your inbox daily, you can also go through your email once a week to make sure there isn’t any unwanted emails. It’s another small step to keeping it clutter-free.

Overall: Take a look at your inbox.

Is it functioning right now? Could it work better? What are the steps you could take to make it work better for you?