"You have a new message 📨", p*** off! 🤬
Our relationship with our inbox is exhausting. It seems to be made to swallow more and more messages, without ever digesting them. And if it has an empty stomach, it never lasts very long. A really hellish cycle! 👿 Except that at work, we’re often very tied to our emails. To the point that the tidal wave becomes harmful: stress, lack of concentration, reduced efficiency, etc. To progress more serenely, you have no choice but to put the beast on a diet, which implies a little organization and new habits. And of course, it’s out of the question to open your emails during your holidays.
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How to stay cool when faced with an overflowing inbox?
That’s what it’s all about: staying calm and not feeling invaded or overwhelmed by all the emails that arrive in their hundreds in our inbox.
1. Emails morning, noon and night 💊
Just like with medication, you need the right dosage to avoid an overdose. First, let’s start by admitting to ourselves that we all have some form of addiction, more or less intense, to our emails. When we send them, we expect a response within minutes, or at worst within hours, and we apply this imperative to ourselves. In fact, we spend all day checking our inbox or receiving notifications of new messages, which we try to answer as quickly as possible.
🤦 The result is that we stop what we were doing to reply several times a day. Some spend whole days stopping an activity in progress to write emails.
👉 So the solution is to kick the habit and take back control. No more addiction and no more notifications 📯! After agreeing with your team, you disconnect and check your emails just two or three times a day: in the morning, before or after lunch, and possibly an hour before leaving in the evening. That’s all, and above all, it’s more than enough. Someone who wants a quick answer from you can come and see you directly, send a chat message or call you.
2. Read, act, react
Now that you’ve determined when you read your emails, you’ll have to deal with them. Don’t procrastinate, that’s the first rule you have to follow when it comes to your emails. Every email you read must be dealt with. Give yourself a maximum amount of time to read them and then start deleting, replying, delegating, filing, etc.
The aim is to have an empty inbox at least once a day to enjoy this satisfaction and have a clear mind 🥳.
3. Organize for clarity
Tidying up has many benefits. Not only does it help you see things more clearly, but it also frees your mind. That’s why it’s important to tidy your mailbox like you would your house. Having important and less important emails, newsletters, and read and unread messages is tiring for your eyes and your brain, and it increases the pressure!
Let’s start with the basics: don’t mix your personal inbox and your work inbox. Create two separate inboxes or even three, so that one is only for newsletters, for example. For your work inbox, the one we’re interested in today, create folders:
- A folder for each contact and/or project, with, for example, a particular color for each.
- A folder “to deal with” for emails that take a long time to answer. Don’t forget to note a time slot in your diary for dealing with these replies. The aim is always the same: operation empty inbox for an empty mind! (Well, not empty empty, but empty of emails and lots of other things!)
- Temporary folders. We don’t think about it often enough, but temporary folders are useful for emails that are used to organize a particular event or meeting, for example. You just need to remember to delete the folder once the event is over.
4. The problem with CC 🔗
You know what else clutters up an inbox a lot? The messages that you get in CC aren’t necessarily useful. Writing an email with many people in CC makes you less anxious, gives the impression of doing well, and also allows you to get out of your responsibilities (a bit) (👋 Stop putting the whole world in that email loop!). Except that there’s probably someone on the other end whose inbox is overflowing and who also receives this useless CC. If you feel you’re one of them, say so clearly. State your wish to get out of the CC loop. If you’re one of those who puts people in CC, always ask yourself if you’re sending emails wisely. Emails have become a reflex, but they can be replaced by a more direct method of communication. What’s more, if you’re in CC, you’ll drown in the mass.
You have the keys to regain control of your inbox and stop getting caught up in it. You should also be aware that sending efficient emails will encourage others to do the same. Therefore, write concise emails with bold text to underline important parts and use a clear and precise subject. Put in CC only those people who are concerned and only them. Finally, don’t send these emails in the evening, at weekends, or during holidays.
Editor’s note: Practice!
Managing emails is a source of stress for many employees, and if this is the case for you, Rosie’s advice should help to calm you down, provided you apply it to the letter. If nothing helps and opening your inbox is still a source of anxiety, then it’s time to contact a coach. Stress, organization, and pressure management can be worked on. A coach will help you to implement new habits that will allow you to limit pressure and flourish in your work as well as in your private life. Don’t wait to make an appointment!
🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!
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