scan, delete, file, allocate to a task or unsubscribe: 8 steps to approaching email habits mindfully


scan, delete, file, allocate to a task or unsubscribe: 8 steps to approaching email habits mindfully

scan, delete, file, allocate to a task or unsubscribe

Have you come back from end of year festive break email overload? Is your inbox overflowing? Hello, yes, that’s me as well.

I intentionally cleaned out my inbox at the end of year - filed, deleted, and placed in a folder for action leaving me with inbox zero. It felt great. But I’ve come back with 144 emails that were sent to me between Christmas Eve and the 2nd of January! Ouch!

That’s ok though.

I see this as an opportunity to put in place some good boundaries in how I will manage this. Creating a habit for this form of communication is your best approach.

Here are the steps I follow:

First step: What habit are you going to set  for yourself in how you are going to manage your emails? Are you going to check randomly and multiple times as day or are you going to put a plan in action? Put this in action now. The best plan I have found is to have a mindful and calm inbox. I check my email once in the AM (usually after 11am once I have completed a task that has my full creative attention such as writing) and once in the PM.

Second step: Once I have decided to engage with email, I scan the topics and who they are from. I achieve a nice overview of the content. I don't spend too much time doing this, and approach it like a quick scanning activity.

Third step: Delete. Go back through and delete the emails that are spam or advertisements. I approach this quickly.

Fourth step: File. I open and file any emails that have come through that are just keeping me in the loop but don’t require me to take any action. I file as I may need them in the future, but right now they are not relevant.

Fifth step: Quick response. Some emails will allow me to make a quick response and complete the task. As a guiding rule my response would take no longer than 5 minutes. Then file I file in the appropriate folder. 

Sixth step: Action type emails need assigning time. Any emails that require me to take action over a 5 minute time frame I assign as a task in my diary. I block this out in my calendar so I complete these as a task. I then place these emails in my ‘Follow up’ or ‘To Do folder’ so this signals me I have actioned initially (that I have read and allocated time to complete the task). Once completed I file in the relevant folder

Seventh step: Any emails that come my way that are connected to a subscription but I don’t really read or want to receive anymore, I unsubscribe. At this time of the year I am brutally honest with myself as to if I actually read or gain any benefit from the content.

Eighth step: reinforce to myself that my daily habit of checking emails will only be twice. 

Any other steps that you would add? Let me know?