Email have you stressed out?

With the speed of industry and the massive amount of communications in your inbox, how do you minimize the stress caused by these emails, keep them organized and keep up with everything you need to do?

Think about your inbox like the space you operate in. If you have all of your emails in one spot it is comparable to having a pile of all your tasks and duties on your desk.

Einstein worked well this way and some people might, but in the grand scheme of things you will spend more time looking for something than it would take to actually do the thing.

So first things first, create folders on your email account.

I like to have an Action folder for those emails that need a response and attention. You have the freedom to name this folder anything that makes you smile and feel accomplished once you move an email from there to complete. I have honestly thought about naming it based on Pirates of the Caribbean… Action would be X marks the spot….

Informing folder for emails you are CC’ed on or that are strictly for your information. Good names for this folder would be “Jack’s Compass” “FYI” “Informing” and “In the know”. Something great about this folder is you can take emails you are only CC’ed on and move them to this folder automatically with a rule. If you are using Microsoft Office that is…

Create a Completed folder for those emails that were in Action. This folder is the treasure, used after you have completed the actions needed if it was to respond to an email, add something to your calendar, and or, create a todo/follow up. Moving these emails to complete makes it easy to search for them if needed and feels amazing to accomplish!

Now the other half of getting organized, if you have a calendar great, if not this will be your first leap into becoming task-driven and stress-free.

Pick two times and add them to your calendar repeating daily. I usually do it 30 minutes in the am and 30 minutes around 3 pm to sort throughout the day, depending on your email load, and take the time to skim each email. Don’t get squirreled and start reading and responding! This time is solely for sorting.

Once sorted, find another time in your calendar to focus on only responding to the emails in the Action folder. This should be a time when you are focused and uninterrupted. Some Executives I’ve worked with chose to do this during lunch so they eat and respond. I actually enjoy the mental break you get if you have lunch in a public spot, so I do this after lunch with the goal of responding to emails for 1 hour.

On a side note, research shows emails are a massive cause of stress because of the nature of this style of communication. If emotion is added to the mix, you are likely to respond and create more stress that is unnecessary, so set a time when your mental space is generally focused and you can remove all emotion from each of these emails, and respond to the information presented.

Sorting/organizing your inbox also has perks if you utilize Microsoft, you can set reminders and todo’s and also tie them to your One notes. Having everything in one place simplifies life. Adding a certain Feng shui, which gives you balance and harmony. Positive vibes and relieves stress.

So to recap,

  • Sort
  • Create a specified organized time
  • Respond during blocked-out times (after lunch or a workout)

Happy emailing!

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