Let's be real, between your work life and your personal life, our inboxes can look a little zany. Whether you love emails or hate them, getting a notification for just one has the ability to completely throw off what was meant to be a smooth day.
At times, most of us can get so overwhelmed that we take on the ignorance is bliss vibe and hope they'll eventually go away. But it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some ways we can show that inbox who's boss, instead of faltering underneath that overwhelmed feeling.
1. Take Back Your Inbox.
It's so easy to forget that we actually have control over our inboxes. They're not supposed to control us. Yes, an actual email can set the tone for the day, but how it gets to you is your choice sis. I remember being at an event and a major social media influencer revealed she doesn't even have an email app on her phone. I would assume someone like her would be attached to her phone all day every day.
But taking away the app lets you decide to check your email when you want to (like when you're ready to conduct business), instead of making you fall victim to getting unexpected notifications you feel you have to respond right away. If you're not ready to take it this far (I tried and didn't last long), you can at least start by changing any notification settings, so you'll be forced to go to the app to check your email rather than get pinged.
2. That To-Do List Is A Lifesaver.
Whether it's a work inbox or a personal one, many emails come with tasks that the sender hopes we can conquer sooner than later. A great way to take control of your inbox without feeling overwhelmed is making a to-do list in order of importance. As you read each email, write down (or use a calendar or to-do-list app) any tasks or to-dos that are asked of you within the email, as well as any deadlines that they've given you or you want to set for yourself.
Doing this can help prevent you from not knowing where to start after you've read racks on racks on racks of emails. It also makes your email go from a simple task or responsibility to making you take action before you even have the chance to be over it.
3. Inbox Folders Are A Must.
They can seriously be lifesavers. Or at least brain-savers. Creating new folders in your inbox is not only the most proficient but also the easiest way to organize the massive number of emails you get on the regular. Gmail has already started mastering this technique, as it automatically separates promotional emails and messages from social media. But you, my dear, can take things a step further and divvy up your inbox even more.
You can create a work inbox, a social inbox for messages from friends and family, and others for various areas of your life that are really important to you whether it be money, fitness, or travel. That way, after you do read your messages, you can place them in their corresponding folder, so your main inbox isn't filled with thousands of irrelevant messages that cloud you from seeing the newer and more important ones.
4. Create Inbox Time.
To be honest, being overwhelmed when we approach our inbox could be inevitable if we don't set aside time to focus on it. Don't worry, it doesn't even have to be long. But scheduling time to check and respond to emails can be a game-changer. You won't be caught off-guard with the workload because you'll not only be ready for anything, but amped to conquer it all.
Before you get started at your computer or on your phone, take a deep breath and prepare for what's to come. Then, read your emails, respond to the easy ones right away, and create any necessary action plan for a follow up. Once you're finished, this is also a great time to unsubscribe from any unwanted emails. I know we've all had emails from companies and businesses we never even gave our email addresses to. That "unsubscribe" button is key. Sidebar: Don't forget to check your Spam folder too. There might be messages there that are actually important.
5. Give Yourself Reminders To Respond.
Shout-out to those emails that call for extra brain-power. When you receive them, even if it's during your designated email time, it's difficult to respond right away. Unfortunately it's also just as easy to forget about them as soon as we move on to the next task. If you need a little time to think about your response, don't give in to the inbox pressure that tells you have to respond stat. Simply set a reminder for yourself, whether it's on your calendar or your clock app on your phone, that will help you carve out time to create the perfect response.
If you do have a response sittin' on ready but it's not time to send yet, you can either schedule it, or put it in your draft folder with a reminder to send when needed.
What are some ways you conquer your inbox like a boss? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image by Getty Images.