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6 Tips to Avoid the BLACK HOLE of Your Inbox

Updated: Jun 27

The biggest time waster in my opinion is the all mighty inbox.  I call it the Black Hole.  It seems once you start going through your inbox, you suddenly notice that 2 hours just went by and you feel like you literally got nothing done.  Well, no more, let's start practicing these 5 tips to make you more time efficient with the all mighty inbox.

1) Schedule Your Time:   Start with segmenting when you look at your inbox.  I suggest 3 times a day. Once to start your workday, sometime in the middle of your workday, possibly right after lunch and then once to end your day.

This is easy for all of you serious schedulers.  Put it in your calendar and block off times for this each day, 9:00 am-9:30 am, 1:00-1:30 pm, 5:30-6:00pm.  Or whatever times are best for you.

For all of you non-schedulers, like me.  Just look at your calendar in the morning and figure out which are the best three times of that day to do this.  And, of course, it will fluctuate based off the day.

2) Set a Timer:  I am serious. Set a timer.  Possibly Monday morning is your largest inflow, so make that a 45 min timer and then everything on from there 30 minutes at a time.  Once the timer goes off you are done until your next segmented time.

This keeps you fresh and lessens the monotony of your inbox.  It has also been proven your brain functions better and more effectively by switching its focus every 20-30 minutes.

3) Be Super Focused:  Don’t answer calls, answer texts, let co-workers interrupt, etc.  This is your time to be efficient and maximize the time you are in there.

You want to be in and out of there as quickly and efficiently as possible.  So focus and get it done!

4) Be Disciplined: DO NOT look in your inbox in between your segmented time.  Literally! If something is coming to you via email it is not that important that it can not wait 2-3 hours.  Anything that needs immediate attention is going to come to you via instant messaging or a phone call.

Every time you see a message come in and you respond it throws you off track from what you are doing.  Let’s say that I am writing this blog and I answered the three messages that I just saw flash across my screen.  It would take me away from what I am writing, I would switch gears to what the email said, and then it would take me 3-4 minutes to come back to this blog and figure out where I was at in the process of writing.  That is about 5 minutes I just lost leaving my current project and then coming back to it.

You do that 6 times a day, you just lost 30 minutes of your day, literally in inefficiency.  If you are like me an extra 30 minutes everyday makes a huge difference.

5) Unsubscribe:  I know what you are thinking, “I don’t have time to unsubscribe.”  Well, actually you don’t have time to not unsubscribe. The more time you spend having to go through unwanted and “junk” in your email and pushing the delete button, is more time you are wasting.

Look at it as a time investment.  By taking the 30-45 seconds to unsubscribe, you just eliminated 5 seconds you would take everyday 5 days a week for eternity.

6) Consider Outsourcing Your Inbox.  This is something that we do for many of our clients  We schedule to get into your inbox in between the end of one day and the beginning of the next and spend on average 20-30 min organizing into folders what is most important, getting rid of your junk and YES UNSUBSCRIBING FOR YOU!  One of our clients we do this for said after two weeks of us doing this service, “I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders every morning I look in my inbox.”

By creating a structure for your inbox you will take control of your inbox and never fall into the black hole again!

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