Here are a few tips to reduce the clutter in your inbox so you spend less time dealing with your e-mail:
- Turn off any notification alerts and read e-mail in batches instead of the instant one arrives.
- Agree within your office to rank e-mail in terms of urgency: A, B or C. A means the e-mail is important and needs an immediate response, B signifies the e-mail is important but not urgent, C indicates the e-mail is informational in nature.
- In order to maintain a clean in-box, block or reroute (to a designated file) any e-mail from vendors, bar associations, list serves and other sources which don’t require an instant response. This leaves your in-box less cluttered and you can read the filed e-mail at another time.
- If you want to send a very short message, use the subject line like a text message.
- Use the reading pane to preview your e-mail and quickly eliminate those that don’t require a response.
- Create folders for projects and categories of people to save your e-mail in a searchable fashion.
- Bold or highlight action items in the body of your e-mail. Try to limit yourself to one question, request or call to action in each e-mail you send.