Survive the email flood

Survive the email flood

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When one is Office Manager and one receives tens even hundreds of mails on a daily basis, managing one’s inbox can be a full-blown job. Not knowing how to manage one’s mails means heading for disaster, but also taking a risk of being swamped by the email flood. Here are a few tricks to better tame your inbox, so that you make free time for more interesting tasks rather than reading a Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: have you received your Amazon parcel? for the umpteenth time. 

Only preserve those mails in your inbox, which require your immediate attention

One often speaks about “inbox zero”, a concept which is about having one’s inbox empty, all the time. Well in real fact, it’s a little complicated and utopic, however you can get closer to this. To achieve this, you need to be merciless and put away or even erase the mails which don’t require your immediate attention. The goal being that when you open your inbox, you don’t have more than 25 mails to read. It’s less stressful at once. 

Create a «pending» folder

Preserve only those mails in your inbox which require immediate attention, this is all good, but where do the others go, those mails which we have decided to save, despite everything? The ideal is to create a « pending » file, for emails which require another person’s attention, before you can respond. Consult this pending file here and there, once a day, once a week, so that you get a little reminder on the pending “issues”.  

While you’re at it, create other folders

Once you’ve dealt with the mail, store it in a precise folder. As an Office Manager, you’re going to create folders like “Expense account”, “Teambuilding”, “Requests from my a** boss” etc.…Nothing revolutionary you might say, but this trick is going to help you not waste 15 minutes looking for a lost mail, in the meanders of your email. 

Implement filters and rules

Any respecting email system has the functionality which helps you implement filters and rules. This way, your emails will be classified automatically, without wasting your energy. This way, you’ll be able to put code colors, so that emails of your boss are highlighted in yellow and are visible at once. You can also choose to immediately classify emails from Jack, the guy from the IT department, who spends his time sending weird PowerPoint jokes, and automatically stores these in “To be erased”. 

Create response templates

Most of our emails are a lot like each other: at the end of the day, one usually says the same things. So why waste time personalizing each of our responses? Identify the various types of answers you often use (answer to set a meeting date, to notify that the fruits and vegetable baskets have been received, to notify a newcomer has joined etc.…) and create templates. Once again, most of our email systems have this functionality. Once you’ve created a template, you just need to make little changes each time. This way, you’ll be able to answer a lot of mails in no time. 

Check your mails only during the time slots, which have been previously defined

We’ve already spoken about this in previous articles. Don’t be the victim of your email. In order to genuinely tame your mail, you need to choose when to consult it. The least often possible would be the best option. In real fact, of course it’s difficult to check your mail as an Office Manager only once a day, as you may miss out on urgent information. But begin by defining 4 slots (for example 10:30 pm, noon, 3 pm, 5pm) and stick to these. It goes without saying, don’t spend one hour each time. This will already be a good start and you’ll feel much better. 

Disable these damned notifications

Congratulations, you’ve now decided to only consult your mails during certain pre-defined hours. But if an email notification appears on the lower right part of your screen every 3 minutes, resisting the temptation to open the mail is going to be complicated and you may quickly end this resolution. To avoid this risk, take a radical decision: erase notifications from your inbox. 

Use your calendar to set your reminders

Often, our calendar tool is located in our email. Make the most of it and set reminders, when you need to send a reminder to a supplier by mail for example. It’ll avoid wasting 5 minutes looking for the date on which you sent the invoice via mail, to deduce if you should send the reminder email or not…

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