How to Get Control of Your Email

Email is a horrible time sucker. The gravitational pull of the email black hole is greater than that of the sun.

The sad truth: we’ve all wasted hours of our lives in an inbox.

Many say the remedy is to “simply” ignore the email; save the litany of messages to the end of the day. Here’s the problem: I can’t make that work. As many times and ways that I’ve tried to compartmentalize email into prescribed time slots, it never works. I have anxiety that I’m missing something. Murphy’s Law ensures that a time-sensitive message comes precisely when I’m on an email hiatus. On top of that, smoke begins rising from my computer from the overworked inbox ticker. By pushing off the problem, it only gets worse.

It was in a conversation with a colleague that I found (OK, borrowed) the solution. I asked where to send the follow-up materials from our meeting. He gave me an email address with this instruction: “Make sure you write ‘important’ in the subject line. That way, Nancy will make sure I see it.” I naturally asked, “Who’s Nancy?” He went on to explain that he doesn’t read email. Nancy manages his inbox and filters messages. He only sees what’s important, without delay.

The answer to the never-ending email battle became suddenly obvious: stop fighting. Get out of the game completely. Think out of the inbox (I couldn’t avoid the pun). Hire someone to manage your inbox so you can focus your time – and money making efforts – elsewhere.

Don’t have the budget for a full-time employee?

OK, I get it. An email monitor is a luxury. If you aren’t quite at that place in your professional life – or budget – read through this Hubspot article. You’ll find a varied list of (mostly free) options for getting a grip on your inbox.

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