Email overload is a common problem in business with many managers calculating that they get as many as 140 a day.
Part of the problem is that in a multi-location business communications can be copied into other people that the sender feels need to know about the contents.
Then there is the inevitable “spam” from other businesses and services that feel their offerings could benefit the recipient.
Not only is an over-stuffed inbox inefficient it can also damage people’s health, according to Cary Cooper, organisational psychology professor at Manchester University.
An overloaded inbox is a problem that can quickly get out of control, but there are ways of managing your inbox better according to Prof Cooper.
He says that there is little point in “sending someone an email on a Friday night saying you don’t have to deal with this until Monday, because people will then worry about it and do it that weekend.”
Some businesses have acted to control overflowing inboxes by banning the use of internal emails, using a messaging service, such as Slack, documents software from Google, and a project management system. It has proved to be much more efficient according to those who have tried it.
Another way of managing your inbox is to make yourself do something with every email you receive, whether deleting, answering immediately or marking as a priority for later.
It means you have to be organised and efficient but being strict with yourself and setting aside specific times in the day to deal with emails rather than checking randomly when you are busy can be much more effective.
The trick is to get rid of the notion that you must be constantly in your inbox checking, deleting and sorting.