Quick Tip List:
1. Use Forwarding & Choose Easily Accessible Providers
2. Schedule Your Email Time
3. Use Folders
4. Use Drafts
I start my day with a cup of coffee and my inbox. As I use multiple email addresses, I have them all arrive in one place which saves me the hassle of logging in and out at multiple locations. (This works for me as I don't deal with super sensitive data-you'll have to evaluate that based on your industry.) Everyone has their own preference of accessible email hosts, mine just happens to be Yahoo Mail Pro because I've had that account almost since Yahoo blinked into existence. It also allows me to have all content at the ready when I'm out and about-if it's all in one location, I don't have to try to remember what mailbox something went to.
I only read what looks important first, delete the unnecessary and sort the rest for later. This helps me generate my to-do-right away tasks and save the non-emergency emails for when they fit into my daily schedule. I visit each job/topic at least once a day and when I log in to a particular job-say DH Consulting, the first thing I'll do is check my New for DH Consulting email folder. That way I ensure I don't spend a huge chunk of time going thru all my email in one sitting, and I don't jump from one topic to the next and back again-that can be extremely time consuming. If you're only working on one job at a time, however, scheduling a set time to check your inbox and reply to emails is the best route to go.
Folders will make your life so much easier, but it's also easy to forget to look in a folder if you don't make a habit of it. I mentioned above the New for DH Consulting Folder….I created a section at the top of my folder list for New emails, this section contains sub folders for all the gigs I'm currently working on. So when it's time to clock in to DH Consulting, I go to that email folder and process through them, moving them on to the regular DH Consulting folder when they are no longer needed. (N obviously isn't the first letter of the alphabet, so if you have a lot of folders and want to create a New Email Section-add a number such as 0_New to the title so it sits at the very top and is harder to miss.)
I'm a night owl and do work at odd times of the day and week. If that's you as well, I picked up a tip from a friend recently that pertains to us-utilize email drafts. Instead of sending out emails at odd hours, type them up and save to your draft box. That way when you sit down with your cup and email in the morning, you can send them out at a reasonable time of day. This also reduces the likelihood that your message will get lost in the SPAM box overnight.
I hope you've found these tips helpful! If you've discovered more ways to help declutter your inbox and manage email better, I'd love for you to share using the comments below!