How to Get Control of Your Email Inbox

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Scan-Block-Ask

The most efficient emailers use the three-step Scan-Block-Ask system.

Step 1: Scan. Scan your inbox for emails with urgent and important items, and take care of them first thing in the morning. Then, close your email and work on your top priorities.

Step 2: Block. Block 30 to 60 minutes later in the day to process your non-urgent and less important emails. Having a set time in your calendar will help you stay focused on your tasks and ensures that you won't miss or forget about emails.

Step 3: Ask. Ask yourself if clearing your Inbox is the best use of time right now. Do this every time you are in your email and every time you think about opening your email. If the answer is no, wait until the next block of time that you scheduled for email.

Email has been likened to zombies: The more you delete (or kill), the more come to get you. Just about every professional today struggles to stay on top of email. According to a McKinsey study, U.S. employees spend 28 percent of their workweek on email, and research from the University of California, Irvine indicates that email overload can elevate stress levels and reduce focus. Add in the chaos of the modern inbox and important messages can easily get lost in the shuffle -- only 6 to 7 percent of emails actually receive a response.

Email is an integral part of working, but for far too many workers, it hurts rather than helps their productivity. They spend so much time communicating that it is difficult to get into a flow and get actual work done. Keeping email overload at bay and optimizing your inbox requires honing specific skills and developing a strategy so you control your email, rather than letting it control you.

In the following slideshow, SaneBox has identified six tips for overcoming email overload, achieving inbox zero, and boosting your productivity.

 

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