For a women with ADHD, a jam-packed email inbox can be the cause of nonstop digital distractions. In this week’s blog I have listed my top 8 tips for managing your email inbox.
Tip #1 Delete Emails Whenever Possible – Any junk mail, jokes from your family and friends and sales email can take so much of your time to read. What do you actually get from this? Nothing. If you can get into the habit of scanning through your emails you have sent, take a deep breath and delete those emails that are in this category even before you get to read them. I guarantee that you will not miss anything, but you will gain so much more time.
Tip #2 Create A File System – Just as you find it a lot easier to retrieve an important paper document that has been filed correctly , so to if you would find an email if you create a good filing system on your computer. I find it if I keep my inbox for emails that have come in and are unread or items that need action on then I can always see where I am with things. I only file emails that I really need to use again. I try to save email addresses to my address boo so I can delete the actual email ad only keep emails with important information in them. Ask yourself if you have the time to look at your emails you are saving time later. Don’t have a misc. file as this will just get bigger and bigger and you won’t find anything anyway. You may find that filing your emails by sender, topic, and work/project may work best for you.
Tip #3 Dealing with Backlog of Emails – If you are like the majority of people with ADHD, you are slowly drowning in email backlogs of not knowing what is important and what is not. My way of dealing with email backlog is. Draw an imaginary line in the sand and create a backlog file for all the emails you have collected and are swamping you. Clear you inbox and use that going forward for you email. For the email backlog assume that the most recent ones are the best to begin with and when you do have time, go through them deleting as many as you can. Soon you will have gotten rid of most of them and can get rid of that file to.
Tip # 4 Read & Take Action To Each Email – When you get an email read them and then take action. If you just read them and move on, then you will end up having to read them again and therefore waste your time. Delete anything you don’t need and download anything that you need to keep and keep the last email correspondence from each person and you will know when you last talked and what you spoke about. For example, how many times has a friend sent you their new address, phone number ect to you via email; only for you to search for it when you need it. If you transfer the new information to where you keep, there and then you will save yourself time, and then you can delete the email.
Tip #5 Manage Your Sent Email – Your sent inbox can get full quickly that it takes up space. I don’t recommend not copying everything that you sent, as you may need to refer back to it or need clarification of something that you wrote about in the email that you sent. If you really need to keep a copy of the email then cc it to yourself so it comes into inbox and then you can file it away. Get into the habit of deleting your sent box on a weekly basis. Think of it as shredding.
Tip # 6 Unsubscribe – Really look at the emails that you are receiving and whether you actually want them anymore. You may have signed up to get deals at Target or about new products but now you don’t want anything to do with them. Or you may have purchased something from an online store and now you get an online newsletter. All these emails should have an unsubscribe button at the bottom of the page. Clicking on this link will take seconds and it will also save so much time by not having the excess mail that you don’t want.
Tip # 7 Don’t Print Everything Out – Only print out what you absolutely need a hard copy of. This could be a receipt for something that you bought online. I know someone who printed every email that they had simply to read and then attach it to other paperwork. As you can imagine this isn’t expensive with regards to the paper and the ink but also the time.
Tip #8 What is This Email About? – How many time have you had to look for an email from a specific person where it has been entitled with something irrelevant like “Hello”. This does not help you at all, and this method can take forever. However I found it much easier when I got into the habit of only saving emails that have a relevant title on them. I recommend sending the email to yourself again and changing the title so it shows what is in it.