In just a few weeks, we'll fall into the final holiday wormhole of the year, and have to make our way back through piles of unread missives on January 2. Here are a few tips to make the return to work and email slightly less painful.
Tagged With inbox zero
An overflowing, overwhelming inbox is a common lament. How do we manage this constant stream of incoming messages? The Atlantic's James Hamblin has five golden rules you can follow.
We've all experienced email overload, and some emails require a fair amount of time to write a reply. If you don't have time to get to an email right away, at least tell the recipient when they can expect to hear back from you.
Sometimes checking email first thing in the morning helps you get it over with and focus on more important tasks. However, there's an equally compelling case against checking email first thing. If you work better ignoring your inbox in the morning, you'll want to make sure you steer clear on Friday mornings in particular.
Chrome/Safari/Opera: There are a number of solutions for dealing with an inbox overwhelmed with spam, newsletters, marketing emails and so on. You can filter your mail, for example, or sign up for a service like Unroll.me to help you unsubscribe. However, Throttle is a free inbox management tool that attacks the problem at the source.
iOS: Email apps for the iPhone that promise to help you hit Inbox Zero are everywhere, but SquareOne takes an interesting approach: It automatically organizes all of your mail so you can dive into details when you want, control who gets your attention, and overall boost your email signal to noise ratio.
I recently enjoyed a week off work. Popular advice suggests that on such occasions you should set an appropriate out-of-office message, ignore your email and completely disconnect from work concerns. But that's not what I did. Every morning I took time to go through my email (and go through my RSS feeds). This is why.
Getting to inbox zero doesn't have to be painful, but it still requires effort. It can seem really impossible when new emails keep arriving as you're trying to get through old emails. Rory Vaden, writing for Fast Company, recommends going offline to solve this problem.
I casually announced on Twitter and Facebook yesterday that I had 600 emails to get through before my inbox was empty. The most popular response? I should select everything and hit delete. This is why I didn't.