OK, it’s time for some true confessions. How many emails are in your Inbox right now? I don’t mean just the bolded emails that have not been looked at. I’m referring to all of them – opened and unopened. Over the years, I’ve heard it all, from a few dozen to over ten thousand! Yikes. Here are a few questions to see if you are suffering from inbox overwhelm.

  • Are you keeping any emails in your inbox as a reminder of an action step you need to take?
  • Do you have emails in your inbox simply because you don’t want to lose the information or forget a point?
  • When you open your email do you have a “not-so-good” feeling when you see the mass of emails screaming for your attention?
  • Have you ever felt like blocking the entire slew of emails and sending them off to the recycle bin?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you are not alone. Inbox Overwhelm seems to afflict even the most successful entrepreneurs. How about you?

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I’ll share that thankfully organization and time management are two skills I have gotten a handle over my 24 years in business. In fact, I’d say personal management and an ability to manage my mindset are the two things that support me in getting so much done in so little time.  And while technology allows me to streamline communication and leverage my work it can also be a bone of contention, with information – and emails – coming at me at breakneck speed.  So I set out to find ways to conquer my inbox overwhelm. It took me about three months to create the system and form the habits that now support me in keeping my inbox under control. On a daily basis I average no more than 5 to 8 emails in my inbox and on a good day when I power down, I’m free and clear of emails all together.

So here you go…. I’m including six of my 20 simple strategies for Conquering Inbox Overwhelm.

While it’s not my entire system, I think you’ll find them to be some great first steps to nailing this sometimes overwhelming aspect of the entrepreneurial experience.

  1. Decide to be the victor not the victim. Commit to establish an email management system that allows you to control how much time and energy your emails take.
  2. Have more than one email account for campaigns and subscriptions. Only use your personal email account for private and high level business dealings.
  3. Even if you are a one person show, have two email accounts; one personal and another Service@yourURL.com. Then, as soon as you are able, enlist the support of a virtual assistant to whom you will hand over this account.
  4. Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe to email subscriptions you no longer find helpful or interesting. Taking just 30 seconds now will save many minutes over time.
  5. Create a “swipe” folder in your email program where you save samples of competitor’s email campaigns.
  6. Create an education folder where you save interesting emails that will take some time to review. Often it’s tempting to dive in and check out an email, watch a video or listen to a recording that promises to teach us something we simply must know. I find it better to schedule “Research and Review” time each week when I go to that folder and explore some of the emails that piqued my interest. In short, you are in control of when you “explore” so schedule that time and stick to it.

There is plenty more where that came from. So start with these first six step and then let me know about you progress toward Conquering Inbox Overwhelm. Happy deleting!