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7 Ways To Lower Your Email Volume

Email backlog can undoubtedly reduce our productivity and time management. It can be a burden to tackle the daily onslaught of messages without proper techniques. Staying on top of your inbox is a process that is a pain for many professionals, but it is one of the most crucial tasks for a smooth operation.

Irrelevant emails markedly prevail over the relevant content. Often, as is the case, an email sent is what could have been a brief conversation. Email is a communications medium, and when overused, the task of handling the steady stream of emails can become a job of its own.

Fundamentally, the shortcoming of using email is that we cannot control the number of incoming emails. But on the plus side, we can use various methods to reduce the total email volume.

How to lower your email volume in a few quick steps

How to lower your email volume in a few quick steps

  1. Establish the size of your mailbox

The size of the email inbox storage varies depending on the provider or your company set up. If unchecked, you’ll run out of storage space quickly. Therefore, the first step is to get accustomed with your email service provider’s default options and establish your mailbox’s size.

Most email providers offer customizable settings. After some time, you can start to anticipate the number of incoming emails and prepare adequately. Customizing your settings and adding filters can improve administration over the inbox.

  1. Set up email rules


Rerouting incoming emails is one of the best features to set up. Build a structure of different labeled folders. Compile a list of tags and assign them to designated emails, for example, regular newsletters, notifications, or automatic replies. This way, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently differentiate which emails are to be worked on, which can be filed right off the bat for future use or reference, or immediately deleted. Using tags can be most beneficial when used in tandem with the search function. It is much more straightforward to search for a specifically labeled email than a random, unassigned one.

Try to keep it simple. Too many folders can overwhelm your inbox and ruin your overall goal of being organized. However, remember to keep up with your folders as neglecting them can result in substantive unread information. Use filters to compartmentalize specific types of emails into folders so you can batch process them.

Additionally, creating separate specialized email addresses for different types of emails can function as a creative way to streamline communication, for example, one email address for internal communication, the other for external. The drawback is that you will have to switch between them when needed. However, before considering doing this, it is best to check with your IT department. It depends considerably on your organization’s preferences for communication, e.g., one commonly shared inbox.

To cut down on the unnecessary back and forth responses, set up a clear autoresponder. Often, when the sender has not received an update in a certain amount of time, they can start wondering if the email they have sent even reached the intended recipient. Clear and concise automatic reply can decrease the follow-up emails and set up clear expectations on the lead time or any updates on the service status, for example, out of office reply.

Setting up email rules is an incredibly useful feature when it comes to spam. While browsing and using the various online functions, you will amass a substantial list of subscriptions. Unsubscribe from all the unnecessary correspondence. Rifle through your inbox and consider if your subscriptions are meaningful or bring any value to yourself or your work. In all likelihood, most of them do not, and it’s just unnecessary spam.

  1. Schedule a time to work on the emails

Breaking the day activities into different time slots can improve efficiency and reduce interruptions. One of the most frequent interruptions during the day are indeed emails.

Research shows that it takes up to 20 minutes to regain concentration after being interrupted by an email.

If your job permits it, schedule a block of time in the day or a week when you can work on an email inbox. This way, you can strategically plan and coordinate the flow of your inbox messages. If required, discuss this with your superior and try to come up with a time slot together.

According to a statistic, the time you spend working on emails should not exceed 25% of your workday. Naturally, this depends on the nature of a job, for example, a personal assistant.

  1. If it can be a person to person conversation, use a phone instead or speak with them directly

Frequently, what could have been a brief conversation over the phone has been instead altered into an email trail that can only grow in size. If it is within the realms of possibility, a quick chat is usually a more efficient approach.

Endless email back and forth conversations can seriously overload the inbox.

  1. Reduce the use of cc/bcc and reply to all function

Many of us automatically cc all recipients we might think are to be included in the correspondence without consideration. More often than not, this doesn’t have to be the case. For example, if assigned a specific task, either team member or direct manager should be copied for the first few exchanges but can then be removed from the email thread if not required to keep them in a loop.

A more efficient way to track task completion is to schedule a regular meeting or a team call for monitoring the task’s progress. Carefully construct your posts and choose recipients accordingly.

There are numerous ticketing software apps for internal office communications, either supported directly by your service provider or the app store. Integrate this as the primary chat function to lessen internal communication via email.

  1. Concentrate on one project at a time

Use the 5-minute rule whenever possible. Some inquiries require only a simple answer that can be actioned quickly and do not require a follow-up.

Focus and try to thoroughly resolve the case, ticket, or email on a first attempt. By being thorough, you can mitigate the number of any following questions or messages.

This process is called the One-Touch principle. Commit to processing the cases in stages and avoid re-reading it more than once. It is a process that is increasingly beneficial with time as it provides a better perception of the nature of the incoming messages.

Be clear and comprehensible in your responses. A well-formulated and easy to understand subject line can be a perfect indicator for a sense of urgency or the working time the case requires. Try to refrain from emotionally charged replies. Losing control of your emotions can only lead to arguments or disagreements, which can only lengthen the email trail.

  1. Implement all in one ticketing system

Learn how to choose the ticketing system best suitable for your place of business. A fully integrated software that stores all your messages, emails, social media posts, tickets all in one place is a highly useful tool. This way, customers will be able to reach your place of business at any time, even outside of working hours, and you will be able to delegate the inquiries to a specialized department or a team.

Use internal cloud storage services, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, to distribute files that would otherwise be emailed between the teams or departments.

Conclusion

Making sense of proper email use requires attention and time. Succeeding in mastering the various techniques and processes will improve your email communication and correspondence skills. The payoff is a sense of control that makes the task of managing your inbox significantly less complicated.