We’ve all been there – the unread emails keep piling up in our inbox and thanks to all the thousands of others that are stored in there, the system is slow and unwieldy. The temptation to delete as many as possible can be strong, but that’s not usually the answer. Instead, management of emails in an efficient and effective way is crucial. And it turns out, not just for individual employees – proper management of emails is required in the legal sense too. We’ve put together some tips on how to organize and maintain your business emails so you can ensure you don’t fall foul of not just an overcrowded inbox, but the law too. Read on to find out what they are:
Observe the laws on email retention
It is extremely easy to forget that emails need to be kept for certain periods of time within the business, and the urge to delete them can be huge. Dependent on the governing body and the industry in which you work, you might be expected to keep emails for a minimum of seven years! The FDA even stipulate as many as 35 years in some cases. Make sure you get this right by understanding the Email Retention Legislation in the US.
Once you know how long you’ll need to keep your emails for, you will need to work out a process for archiving and storing them – no one wants 35 years’ worth of emails in their inboxes! The storage requirements will add up over the years, so it is perhaps worthwhile speaking to a specialist in this area.
Prioritize your email time
It is so easy to get distracted in the workplace, so having a structure will help ensure you tick the jobs off your list that you need to. Have set times of the day when you will go through your emails. More importantly, when it is not one of those set times, do not visit your inbox. This will allow you to be as productive as possible.
Organize your inbox
Filing items will not only help to clear out the clutter from your inbox, but it will also allow you to easily find items you need to at a later date. This can be an incredible time-saving exercise and will make you feel much more on top of your workload.
Use the unsubscribe function
The longer you have an email address, and the longer you are with a company, the more likely that address is to wind up on all kinds of mailing lists that are of no use whatsoever. Instead of having to delete the same lot of emails each day, unsubscribe, and your inbox won’t be clogged constantly.
Take decisive action
If an email only needs a quick answer of perhaps delegating on to someone else, do it as soon as you read it. This means it will not add to a never-ending ‘To-Do’ list and enhance the anxiety levels. So many emails can be quick to process – the sooner you do it, the better you will feel and the happier your inbox will look.
Email management is one of the challenges of the business world today – don’t let your business fall foul of it!