Tips for taming your inbox

How often have you returned from a meeting to find your inbox overflowing with emails demanding your attention? It’s not an uncommon sight for most of us who work in the professional staffing world. Clients, candidates and coworkers all have questions and requests, and while it may be tempting to press the delete button for them all, we both know that isn’t going to happen!

According to one study done by Atos Origin, the average worker spends 40 percent of their work week dealing with internal emails alone. The Guardian reports that this is the same as if every professional didn’t show up to the office until Wednesday morning! The paper’s own analysis of employees’ email communications found that out of the 95,000 emails sent during the week about 75,000 were internal. Out of the 127,000 emails received by staff about 68 percent also came from an internal source.

“People have so many demands and so many things others want us to do. This is why our emails need be organized,” said Alex Moore, CEO of Baydin Inc., a startup focused on email organization, according to the Huffington Post.

Research company Fonality has found that most employees spend half of their day using email in counterproductive ways. Every time a worker decides to check his or her inbox quickly they are wasting 64 seconds of time.

“The worst is checking your emails throughout the day. You don’t want to live in your inbox,” Moore told the news source.

Think about your own inbox. Is it overflowing with emails? How many of these correspondents are internal or external? Do you save emails in your inbox because you know they contain important information that will have to be used later?

As a staffing and recruiting professional, the first thing you can do to drastically reduce the clutter of your inbox is to invest in and use the email integration with your staffing and recruiting software. This offers some significant benefits to you, as it helps you to focus on sales and recruiting activities that result in better business performance. Equally important, your staffing and recruiting software then becomes the central repository of all of your email activity with candidates and customers, so that you can better track and manage those all-important relationships.

Just as the staffing software you use helps you manage your work more efficiently, it’s time to begin to use a number of email settings and tools to further reduce the digital clutter in your life. Depending on your personal organization style, you will find the right combination of tools to effectively manage your mail. According to Gigamon, there are three types of organization styles for email – searchers, who prefer to only use search tool filter options to find items, filers, who believe that everything has a place, and taggers, who remain in the middle ground of the two.

Here are three ways to organize your email:

Do you frequently subscribe to various industry publications because they just might offer you a tip or insight? If yes – think back. How often do you actually read the daily, weekly or monthly newsletter emailed to you? If you typically end up deleting these messages, you may want to dedicate a few minutes of time to unsubscribe. While it may only take one minute of your day to delete the message, that time will begin to accumulate and soon you will have consumed over 30, 40 or 60 minutes of your year deleting newsletters. If you really feel that the service is worthwhile, consider having the newsletter sent to a particular folder or filter so that it skips your inbox and you can find it easier.

Apply filters
One of the premier functions of almost any popular email system is the ability to apply filters to emails from certain senders. For staffing professionals this means setting up filters for individual clients so that you can follow the chain of communication easily and always know where messages are being directed. This also will help you decrease the burning need you have to check your email when you receive a notification that a message has been sent to your inbox. Instead, you can finish your project or task and then scroll up and down the filters column to see if anything has come in. If you are afraid you are going to forget a task that needs to be completed in the future you can often set up a boomerang application that resends the message or notifies you of the email in a reminder for a date you choose.

Delete it
How often do you hold onto your emails? Just like the items in your closet, if you haven’t used it for a significant period of time and it is getting in the way it’s time to direct the missive to the trash can. The Huffington Post reports that workers delete about 71 messages every day. Deleting messages takes an average of 3.2 seconds. However, clicking and de-selecting those same messages that get in your way on a daily basis is more of a distraction. So, make time and delete away!

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