Do you struggle to manage your email inbox? Is the constant email clutter taking up more of your precious time than you’d like to admit?
You, your team, and over four billion people around the globe all use email to communicate. But only a few of us manage to keep their email inbox tidy and structured.
Often, the problem is not in the number of incoming emails, but rather the lack of a clear system on how to deal with them. Because without a solid email-management strategy, sending, receiving, and managing emails can be a real strain on your time and work.
Email management is an art of its own. But if you put the right practices in place, it’s not a hard one to master. To help you (and our fellow team members here at JOIN), we’ve researched different email management strategies to create our own set of guidelines on how to best manage your email inbox.
They help our team work more efficiently. Hopefully, they’ll help you and your team, too!
Why you should structure how you manage your email inbox
It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first day at work or you’ve been in the business for years. You can benefit from a clear system to structure and manage your emails.
According to a report by market research firm The Radicati Group, employees received and sent an average of 126 business emails per user per day in 2019. If you take the 8-hour working day as the standard, that amounts to 15.75 emails every hour, or 1 email every 3.8 minutes.
How are you supposed to stay focussed and productive with so many emails flying around your ears all day, every day?
Simple. By implementing a set of well-structured email management guidelines. And then scrupulously sticking to them.
Email management guidelines: 4 steps to email success
Following these email best practices and guides will help to ensure you and your team manage your email more effectively.
1. The how and when
The first step of email management is to decide how and when you’re actually going to use your email. Too often, teams default to email while other forms of communication, such as Slack, are much more suitable.
By setting out clear guidelines on when to use email (and when not) you can quickly cut down the number of emails sent and received each day. Check out our separate guide to learn the basics on how and when to use email in business communication.
2. Define the rules and stick to them
Once you defined the purpose of email in your business, it’s time to lay out some ground rules. These rules should include the basics (e.g. always add a subject line) but also some best practices tailored to your business (e.g. how quickly you expect people to reply to emails).
All such rules and guidelines for email management should be written down and clearly communicated with your team. To find out how to implement this in your business, read our extensive guide on email etiquette: the dos and don’ts.
3. Structure, structure, structure
You are well on your way to managing your emails more effectively. Now you’ve done the groundwork, it’s time to structure the chaos and actually manage your inbox.
The important thing to bear in mind at this stage is that it’s not just about clearing out your inbox. It’s about implementing a system to help you manage your email inbox and keep it tidy and structured moving forward.
To learn more on how to do this, check out our guide on how to organize your work email in 5 easy steps.
4. Become an automation master
The email management strategies described above help you deal with the constant flow of emails more efficiently and effectively. But you’re still only human.
To really keep up with everything that’s arriving in your inbox, you need to automate as much as possible. After all, why do things manually when your email manager can automatically do it for you?
So to really master the art of email, be sure to check out our top 10 email hacks to increase productivity and efficiency at work.
Is your email inbox under control?
Congrats! Next, check out our effective meeting series, filled with guides on how to further improve the way you and your team work by planning effective meetings.