Email…you’re probably not a fan. I for one would probably put off answering emails indefinitely if my job didn’t depend on it. But maintaining an Inbox doesn’t have to be a monumental task. At CSR, we’ve developed some best practices to help keep things in order.

  1. Create general directories so that you always have a place to put emails that no longer require your attention. For instance, I have catch-all folders called “admin” and “biz dev.”
  2. Create folders for each client or major category.
  3. Move email followups to a task manager. That way you can file away an email without forgetting action items.
  4. Establish an accountability partner. Add to a weekly 1×1 agenda or measure number of emails as a KPI.
  5. Send fewer emails. Instead, communicate with the team via Slack or a task/project management system.
  6. Sort newsletters into a separate inbox so that they don’t distract you from the most important emails.

I myself used to have thousands of unread messages. At least a hundred were fairly urgent. My manager had me set goals every week for a lower number until I got down to just a handful. Nowadays, I aim for no more than five unread emails at a time and no unanswered emails more than two days old.

Good luck!

Rosi has been working at CSR since August 2012. Her multiple roles include services such as networking research, market research, CRM evaluation and implementation, and basic graphic design. More Posts