Okay, it may be a bit of an exaggeration to say your email inbox is sacred—as that word is usually reserved for a place of worship—but I do think our inboxes deserve deep respect. So today I wanted to share a few ways I keep my own inbox clean and ways I respect the recipients of my own emails.
MANAGING MY OWN INBOX
- I unsubscribe from newsletters that no longer bring me joy or help me level up.
- I turn off unnecessary notifications. For example, last week I got over 400 emails from Crowdcast telling me someone had registered for my webinar—I regretted not turning off those notifications earlier.
- I don’t use my inbox as a to-do list. Instead, I put actions and tasks in my project management app (I use Asana but you could try Basecamp).
- When I open an email, I try to respond or take action on it immediately. Whether that’s creating a task or sending a quick reply, I try not to “mark as unread.” If I can’t deal with it now, it’s not likely that I’ll have the energy to deal with it later.
- I don’t respond to everything. Email begets more email—in other words, the more I send, the more I get. So if an email doesn’t warrant a response I don’t send one.
RESPECTING YOUR INBOX
- Slack and Skype. Sometimes I am tempted to send an email to a coworker or client when a chat over Slack or quick session over Skype would be much more efficient. Remember, email isn’t the only way to communicate.
- My newsletters are valuable. If I don’t have at least $100 worth of knowledge to share or am telling a story that helps someone be more of who they are 100% of the time, I’m not hitting “send.” I’d rather wait until I have something worthwhile to say than clutter up your inbox.
- I let you know what I need / want. When I send you an email, I let you know exactly what I need from you by making a call to action at the end—this is true for both my newsletter subscribers and my coworkers.
- Brevity is kind. Keeping it short and simple is respectful (albeit sometimes difficult), but often I’m afraid of coming across short, so I’ll throw in a smiley face emoji or an extra exclamation point so my recipient knows my brevity should not be mistaken as cold or curt.
- Bullets, bolds, and lists. If for some reason I need to send a long email, I try to include bullets, use of bolded words or questions, and lists that help the reader take in all the information with ease.
I hope these simple (but not necessarily easy) tips give you some inspiration to keep your inbox (and others) tidy and well…sacred.