Are You Overwhelmed by Your Inbox?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

One of the most powerful marketing tools for small businesses (the email newsletter) gets overlooked because people think no one pays attention to emails anymore. After talking to people, I’ve realized many are just overwhelmed by their own inboxes and they think everyone feels the same way.

When my husband and I decided to live and work on the road for 5 years, I quickly learned the art of getting rid of things that weren’t necessary. It’s the same principle with your email. If you want it to be a tool to help you be more efficient, you need to cut the clutter.

The truth is professionals who rely on their email to keep them in the know and organized are in more control of their days. They are not living in constant chaos. Email is far less intrusive than a text or a phone call. We all know when you’re in the middle of a big project, stopping to answer a text or phone call decreases your productivity. 

In the fast-paced world of business and communication, our inboxes can quickly transform from a helpful tool into a chaotic filing cabinet. But reclaiming control is simpler than you might think.

Here are a few tips to get you started and help you go from chaos to organized and professional.

1. Taming the Newsletter Avalanche:

Newsletters overtaking your inbox? Here’s the deal: they should work for you, not the other way around. Create a dedicated folder for newsletters or promotional emails. This way, they won’t clog up your main inbox, and you can check them at your convenience.

Now, take a look at your subscriptions. If there’s a newsletter that’s lost its sparkle, hit that unsubscribe button. Your inbox is prime real estate, reserved for content that adds value and aligns with your current interests.

2. Setting Boundaries with Frequent Emailers:

Ever feel bombarded by colleagues or contacts who send multiple emails in a week or even each day? It’s time to set some boundaries. Most email platforms allow you to create filters. Take advantage of this feature by directing emails from frequent senders to specific folders.

That way, you control when to engage with their messages without feeling overwhelmed by a constant stream. You can also mark them as spam if you no longer have interest in the service or product they are continually emailing you about.

3. The Power of Unsubscribe:

Unsubscribing is within your power. I’ve had people I meet networking, they grab my card, and the next thing I know, their newsletter’s in my inbox. While it’s not illegal in the U.S. to add someone to your email newsletter without permission, it’s just not a good business practice. I get rid of those newsletters right away because they clearly aren’t interested in a relationship, but merely trying to sell their service or product. 

Then there are those newsletters that I just don’t have an interest in anymore. My lifestyle or interests have changed and it’s time to move on.

If an email no longer sparks joy or relevance, say bye-bye. Most marketing emails include an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom. Click it and your inbox will thank you, and you’ll only receive content that truly matters to you.

Here’s a quick tip I learned from my mentor, Belinda Sandor, if you are so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start: 

Go to your inbox and archive everything that’s two months old or older. That way, it won’t be cluttering up your inbox, but if you need something from one of those older emails, you can search for it and bring it back up. This will help you get a jumpstart on clearing out the things you don’t need, without the worry of deleting something important.

Also, I reserve working on clearing out my inbox when I have time where I feel a little less productive. Do you have a lull in your work schedule? Are there times when you struggle to focus?

My husband likes to watch old TV shows in the evenings, so I work on sorting my email then. It’s important not to use your most productive work hours to sort through your email. Save that focused time for those things that will move the needle in your business.

Remember, your inbox is a tool, not a burden. By curating and organizing, you’ll transform it into something that helps keep you organized and in control of your time.

Happy inbox mastering! 

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