Mainly because I type like a third grader, but more importantly, because it stresses me out with the amount I receive everyday.
Don’t get me wrong, while I love digital communications, especially as it pertains to social media, I still get a ton of emails on a daily basis. Most of them useless responses or FYI’s just to keep me in the endless loop of mindless information. And if you’re a mobile person like myself, Forget about it, — it will pile up faster than you can say Gmail.
If your e-mail has you stressed out, then follow these simple steps to de-stres your email by 4 o’clock.
Make Your Goal Zero
The number one way to stay de-stressed with your e-mail is to get your inbox to zero everyday. Whether your filing for later, responding or deleting, you should be working toward that goal on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t always happen, but to not have those overwhelming feelings of stuff to do, you’ll need to shoot for the goal everyday.
Follow a System
I’m a huge fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. If you haven’t read any of David’s books, then I would recommend them immediately. Don’t forget to check out his GTD set-up guides as well. The GTD system is perfect for setting a process to deal with your overwhelming amount of e-mail. It’s also a perfect system for getting yourself organized and focused throughout other areas of your life. By quickly making a judgement on what action to take on all your information, it will give you a quick and simple way to plow through your e-mails and decide what you need to respond to, file or delete. Once that’s done, it’s easy to assign a priority and start chopping away at the important ones.
Create a Auto-Responder
Most of you may not even know what an auto-responder is, much less, how to set one up. Think of it in the terms of the “Away from my e-mail” response when you’re on vacation. I like to set mine to let folks know that I only answer emails at certain times of the day and that if they would like to reach me quicker, then leave a voicemail on my cell phone. You may be thinking that you’re trading one evil for the next but, I’ve found that if people start understanding your response preferences, then they will usually do what you ask. Not to mention, it will usually lower the amount of less important emails because sometimes it takes to much energy to make a call and hold a conversation.
About 50% of the e-mail stress we have is self-inflicted. We subscribe to every list, product or service known to man and the on-slought starts. We start receiving coupons, newsletters and alerts and we just can’t seem to get out from underneath the piles and piles of electronic waste. That is a perfect time to unsubscribe. At the bottom of most emails, is a link that will let you edit your subscription preference or just unsubscribe. That is the easiest way to eliminate unwanted junk mail will help keep your inbox clean. And if you want to keep receiving the helpful information, I would suggest an RSS Reader. You can subscribe to an RSS feed and still receive the important information you want, while eliminating the clutter in your inbox.
Progress not Perfection
This one may seem like a no-brainer but it needs to be said, Keep Moving! With the exception of deleting your e-mail account, you’re never going to find the perfect system for eliminating stress that e-mail causes. But you can find ways to manage it — so keep making progress. If something doesn’t work that you’re trying now, then look for something else. Stop looking for perfection and keep moving.
I hope this gives you a little insight into ways to de-stress your email. If you have other great ideas or a suggestion for a better process to handle e-mail, then let me know. Leave a comment or send me an email.
I want to hear from you.