How did we function before e-mail, especially in the corporate world. According to David Burkes (Auther, “Under New Management”) “Time spent in your inbox is time not spent on productive activities”.

For many it does feel like e-mail is taking over their life.  Running a business (I am co-founder and co-owner of a business) is time consuming and requires a lot of effort. Today e-mail plays a huge part – not only in our personal life – but even more so in the corporate world and it sometimes become a counter-productive tool because we find ourselves spending so much time managing our e-mail.

Therefore – if you want to improve your business, one of the areas for improvement is getting more productive when it comes to managing your e-mail. Listed below are a few examples:

  • How many days do you spend more time in your inbox than doing paperwork?
  • Hoe often do you make e-mails your first priority ra old e-mailther than actually getting things done?
  • Do you from time to time keep clicking into your inbox, even though you just visited it only a few minutes ago?
  • How much time do you spend managing your e-mail each day, like sorting, organizing, deleting old e-mails and searching for past e-mail?

I must admit – I often found myself boots and all in one or more of the above situations. It was therefore necessary for me to change my approach in order to take control of my inbox, getting it organized and become more productive.

There are many, many methods, tools and applications available to manage e-mail. However – for now I wanted to keep it simple and are now making e few changes when dealing with e-mail in my inbox.

I created categories (folders/labels) to sort and file my e-mail. This enables me to sort and file the e-mails before taking the relevant permanent action. I also don’t hesitate to use the delete and archive buttons! Also – the folders I created were according to my (our) internal needs. When going through my e-mails I don’t ponder over my response. I simply drag the e-mail to the relevant folder. I also focus to touch an e-mail once, twice at the most prior to taking a permanent action.

Here are the seven personalized folders that I use:

  • My “GKG” folder is for e-mail from our church. I am currently on the Church Board ans also chairperson on three committees.
  • My “Important Internal Company” folder is for the internal company e-mail – policy and procedures, HR, etc.
  • My “Action Required” is for urgent/important e-mail that will take a bit more time to respond to. In a sense this is also a “to-do list” folder. I prefer to “block” time twice a day – early morning and late afternoon – to attend to these e-mails.
  • My “Awaiting Feedback”  folder is a “parking lot” for holding e-mail that I’m waiting for response. From this folder I communicate with working associates, friends, etc.
  • My “Customer Relations” folder deals with all communication relating to prospects and/or customers.
  • My “To Read Later” is for my e-books, newsletters or educational content that I want to work through later. During working hours I prefer to stay productive and refrain from attending to these e-mails. On my way home, when someone else is driving, or after work is when I work through this folder. Beware – this folder can easily become cluttered. Delete or unsubscribe from anything you’re not reading.
  • My “Personal” folder is for communication between me, my friends, family and also working associates that are not work related.

Thus – when an e-mail comes in I act there and then, click and drag the email into the relevant folder. This working method enables me to manage my inbox much more speedily and effectively.

It is also wise not to use your inbox as a to-do list, It only result in your inbox becoming cluttered. There are quite a few other options available for your perusal.

Until next time – take care.


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