Fighting the Email FloodWasn’t email supposed to make our lives easier?

Suddenly we take a look at the clock and see that an hour or more has been swallowed by the email monster.

It is all too easy to get trapped in an email cave, trying to keep up with all of the items that flood our Inbox every day.

While I cannot claim to have totally tamed the email monster, I have come up with a few tricks that you might find useful, both for your business and in your personal life.

I call this my Delete, Sort, Move and Act system.

First, create the following folders (or those that best serve your needs) where you can temporarily store items you need to deal with right away. Start each folder name with the letter A; so that the folders sit at the top of your folder list.

  1. A Answer
  2. A Do
  3. A Print
  4. A Read
  5. A Scheduled appointments, webinars, etc.

Every time you access your email, delete all the junk mail first. If several pages of new emails have appeared, go to the last page of emails and click Select All. After deselecting only those items you wish to keep, delete the rest.

Next, sort the items remaining by deciding which ones need to be simply answered, which ones require action, to be printed, only read for information, or that refer to a scheduled event; and then move the emails to the appropriate folder. (Emails that need to be stored for future reference should go into folders you create for that purpose.)

Repeat the Delete, Sort and Move part of the process for each page of emails until you have gone through all the emails you have received.

Once you have completed sorting all of the current emails, it is time to act. Go to the A Answer folder and answer all of those emails. This will ensure that you answer all necessary emails, without having to search to find where an important email is hiding.

You can then move on to the A Do folder and either take care of all necessary actions required by those emails immediately, or schedule an appropriate time to do so.

Depending upon the time you have available, you can either take care of the items to print and to read; or postpone doing so until you have time for those tasks. (Printing items is a perfect task to delegate to an assistant.)

And of course, having all your scheduled appointments and webinars in one place means that you won’t have to go searching fruitlessly for the link to a webinar you absolutely want and need to attend.

I would love to hear if my system has given you any ideas that you can apply to make your own life easier. Also, please share any of your strategies on the Facebook page, so that others can benefit from your expertise as well.