A CEO’s email inbox can quickly become unruly if not managed properly. While they are constantly bombarded with emails from different recipients making different requests from them, many CEOs may find that they are overwhelmed with their inbox, resulting in reduced productivity and lost connections in the long run. And unfortunately, they don’t always have a lot of time to deal with the clutter of emails.
While you can’t always slow down the number of incoming emails, there are tools and strategies that can help organize your inbox. Below, nine Young Entrepreneur Council members shared their favorite hacks via email to help you better engage with your business and your priorities.
1. Move some connections to Slack instead
It’s easy to get bogged down by the influx of emails that end up in your inbox every day. Organization and communication are critical to managing your business and your priorities. I would like to inform my team of instructions on how to report prohibited work to me. Sometimes that’s a specific email subject line, or if the emails aren’t making our team effective, we may have created a dedicated Slack channel for these conversations instead. This practice can help avoid massive inboxes and make everyone (including you!) more effective and efficient. Find what best fits your organization’s style, animate the workflow and stick to it religiously. Your teams will appreciate your dedication to unblocking their work, and your productivity will rise as you are not distracted by email. – Swapnil Shinde, Zeni Inc.
2. Outsourcing inbox management
Outsourcing my inbox to my executive assistant is the key to success. Left to my own devices, I’d spend hours browsing email. Now, I only have to respond to emails that require my attention. My EA responds to, rates, filters, or filters the rest. We have communicated my limits and preferences. I don’t need to answer every customer service request, but if a dear friend emails me or asks for advice, I want to see it. I also have a private email address that only my husband, lawyer, and a few close friends know about (this address is not managed by EA). This keeps work stuff at work and very personal stuff with me. – Trivinia Barber, PriorityVA
3. Delete without fear
Delete unnecessary emails quickly and without fear. There are those who are afraid of deleting emails. That’s why, when they enter their inbox, they simply change the status of unrelated mail to “read”, leave it unopened, or put it in a folder for “unrelated mail”. But why would you want irrelevant email? It only takes up space in your inbox, preventing you from getting really important emails close at hand. When you delete emails that you don’t need, you don’t even notice their absence, but when you leave them, they become a daily nuisance. – Kevin Ryan Tao, Neuf
4. Set up filters, redirects and labels
A poorly managed inbox is sure to put pressure on any CEO. One way to manage your inbox is to spend some time setting up inbox rules and filters. You can automatically send emails to specific folders, archive them, delete them, star them, etc. It also helps to create folders and subfolders like Pending Action and Continue and be consistent about their usage. Another way to keep clutter to a minimum is to unsubscribe from junk emails that send spam to your inbox. If you have an assistant, they must first and foremost be reliable and trustworthy so you can train them on how to manage your inbox, which emails to respond to on your behalf, etc. – Ian Sales, Rebate Key Inc.
5. Reply to important business emails first
Lowering your inbox to zero and being on top of email seems to be the best strategy. However, with only so many hours in the day, is taking so much time to send email the best use of your time? Controversial, I know, but I really think my time is much better spent checking my inbox at specific times throughout the day, reporting and responding to anything important to business and then focusing my time and energy on supporting my team and moving forward on the key things that will be It has a huge impact on our business. The email often looks for other people looking for you to solve their problems, and if things are really important, they will follow up or otherwise reach out to you. – Sidney Poulsen, TiPJAR USA
6. Take time to respond
Organizing is the key. When it comes to email, it’s easy to look in your inbox and feel overwhelmed. Filter systems and folder theme organization helped me tremendously. However, while this helps, it doesn’t solve the problem of the huge amount of emails I’m constantly sorting through. I have found that setting aside time in the morning to respond to urgent requests and afternoon time for ongoing projects or longer emails that I need to think about more is most effective for me. Nick D’Angelo, Saint Investments Group
7. Different addresses for different purposes
Email can get out of hand very quickly if you don’t manage it. One way to handle email is to use multiple email addresses for different purposes. It’s not always easy to do, but it can help you if most of your work email goes to one address, social email to another and so on. If you only have one email address currently, start a new account and you’ll get less urgent social and entertainment emails and messages sent to the new account. This can help you have more control over your work email. – Kalin Kasapov, ProTexting
8. Smart tap of folders
Email is the primary way I communicate with my clients and partners. In order to stay organized, I have a folder for each of the entities I work with where I index all emails related to that organization. In order to process unanswered emails, I leave them unread and prioritize unread emails at the top of my inbox. Once you reply to an email, that email is tagged with that entity’s folder and then archived for future reference. I also try to keep in mind when an email comes in, if it takes less than 2 minutes, I’ll go ahead and reply or complete the short task. – Joe Morgan, Joe’s Datacenter, LLC
9. Use the snooze option
The new email inbox hack that helped me manage work and priorities is the snooze button. This button allows you to schedule the time when you want to receive an email. You can choose how many hours or days you want the email to come back so that it isn’t constantly in your inbox. Using the snooze option in your email is also a great way to remind yourself of important tasks and events. The delayed email will temporarily disappear from your inbox and will reappear unread and wait for you to work on it when the time is right. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner