By | Mary Squillace | www.themuse.com
Between sifting through spam, crafting the right responses, and keeping tabs on the messages that require follow-up, staying on top of your inbox can feel like a job in itself. That’s why we picked the brains of professionals who have figured out the secret to efficient, organized inboxes—despite getting hundreds of emails a day. Because having a system in place can help you conquer even the most unruly inbox.
1. Only Keep Emails Requiring Immediate Action in Your Inbox
Inbox zero might be too lofty an aim, but by being ruthless about which messages get to take up real estate in your inbox, you can get pretty darn close.
“Most days, my email inbox has fewer than 25 messages in it. This is intentional. I want to be able to open my inbox and immediately see what is most urgent and requiring a response,” says Leigh Ann Newman, a senior program manager at an international government consulting firm. “This habit pushes me to take action on items in an extremely timely manner.”
It’s not uncommon for Newman to receive, in the span of a few hours, well over 100 emails, many of which are urgent and involve high-level managers. In 2008, she had the opportunity to start from scratch when her company changed to a new email system during an acquisition. “It was like spring cleaning for my inbox. And, since then, I simply cannot function with an inbox that is flooded with unanswered emails,” she says.