In our technological age, digital clutter is becoming just as problematic as its physical counterparts. Many businesses send hundreds of email messages a day but fail to purge and organize them appropriately. As the main component of many business’ communication efforts, email often triumphs over physical meetings and phone calls. According to the Radicati Group, Inc., business email accounts worldwide add up to approximately 929 million mailboxes.
Despite the many advantages of email, a cluttered inbox can lead to wasted time, which in turn affects your profit margin. Here we’ll discuss how to eliminate email clutter by weeding out spam, organizing important messages and documents, taking new approaches to handling email and using alternative forms of communication.
Tips for Reducing Email Clutter
According to AOL Jobs, workers waste the equivalent of 73 days a year on email, so it remains a huge threat to efficiency and productivity in the workplace. If you spend the entire day responding to incoming messages, struggling to find vital attachments or simply can’t find anything in your inbox, it’s time to take action.
A few simple but effective steps can help you make the most efficient use of your time when it comes to email:
- An easy way to cut down on the email you receive is to simply send less mail. Never hit “Reply All,” unless necessary, since doing so is a sure-fire way to receive a colossal amount of email in return.
- Before sending an email message, ask yourself if you would be better served with a brief call or instant message.
- Keep your email free of clutter by deleting, responding to and/or filing email at several designated times throughout the day.
- Delete any messages you don’t need, such as spam and advertisements.
- Respond to important messages immediately to avoid forgetting about them later.
- Create folders or use labels to separate high-priority email from the remaining mail and separate all email accordingly.
You can also do other simple things to keep email to a minimum, such as giving mass mailing options to only a select few, unsubscribing to promotional email, newsletters and shopping notifications and conversing with others in person when possible.
Using Hosted Exchange
Another means of being able to potentially cut down on email traffic within your business is to adopt a hosted version of Microsoft Exchange. In addition to email, Exchange’s capabilities allow users to store notes, schedule meetings and create to-do lists and calendars. Best of all, some functions, such as the calendar, can be shared among fellow employees, each of whom can access the information without needing to send a message. Choosing an email hosting service that uses Exchange could allow greater opportunities for collaboration and increase your email efficiencies.
Alternatives to Using Email
Email overload has become a major problem for businesses of all sizes. According to the Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, the average emailer writes approximately 41,000 words each year in email content. This is the equivalent of a 166-page book or something slightly shorter than The Great Gatsby.
Instead of sending an email, consider having 15-minute morning meetings on designated days of the week. If you can’t leave your desk, Skype or instant messaging software can provide instant gratification when all users stay online during work hours. Although not appropriate for all situations, social media is a quick and efficient way to send viral messages, which can also increase your company’s advertising presence.
Email has revolutionized communication in the workplace. The ability to send messages to colleagues, customers and the world nearly instantaneously gives fast-paced businesses—big and small—a huge advantage. However, cluttered inboxes can make it difficult to stay organized and respond in a prompt timeframe due to the sheer number of messages to sort through. It’s crucial to take control of your inbox by eliminating unnecessary clutter and finding more effective ways to communicate. Doing so can lead to increased productivity and efficiency, and potentially help your chances at profitability.
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