Picture this: you come home from a long day at work to be greeted by a sink full of dishes and last night’s empty pizza boxes stacked on the counter. There are piles of bills stacked on your coffee table, hastily torn open envelopes and gaudy promotional flyers spilling onto the floor. The cat has done a number on your rug and the dog has shredded his latest plastic toy, scattering pieces all through the house. Sounds horrific right? Well, there’s one thing that most people can agree on. Mess IS stress! If you feel that you can’t get any relaxing done when your home is in that state, what makes you think you can get any work done if your inbox looks the same as your surroundings? Check out how to prioritize your emails and make your day seamless.
We’re not talking about inbox zero here, but If you’re not sorting and prioritizing your email in some way, how can you possibly look past the chaos of your inbox and get on with some real work? The best way to prioritize emails can be very personal, and many people have their own systems in place. However, there are also a few approaches that can get you on the right track and that are important to understand. After all, learning how to prioritize emails is a bit like knowing whether to clean up the mess first or pay those bills. It’s a skill, and it’s a pretty crucial one at that.
Skim Your Inbox
The first thing you should do when you open your email is skim the contents. Hopefully, your email client will already send you pop-up notifications that will give you some idea of what to expect. Next, simply scan the senders and email subjects and make a mental note of those which are most important. Those that you know have no value (spam, newsletters, more bills!) can easily be ignored. The goal here is to get an idea of the most urgent messages and begin to think about the best way to prioritize those emails.
Star and Reply
Dealing with the most urgent emails in your inbox and replying straight away can be the most effective method of streamlining your workflow. However, this is not always possible, or even preferable. During your working day, constant interruptions from your email and team chats can ruin your flow, disrupting your concentration and eating up your valuable time. “Starring” emails first thing in the morning, or as you receive them, is a great way to acknowledge and prioritize email without instantly replying.
Archive and Trash
If you find you’ve got a few minutes spare at the end of your day, then archiving and trashing unwanted email is a great way to keep your inbox clutter-free and allow you to more easily identify your priority emails the next day. For older messages that still have value, then archiving is the answer, letting you to remove them from your inbox but still access them at a later date. For anything that’s totally useless, then just hit delete and get rid of them for good.
Priority Inbox and Pinning
As a productivity-enhancing, unified workspace, Spike loves priority emails. In fact, we think they’re so great that our entire inbox is built around them. Priority Inbox automatically gets rid of the clutter, organizes your messages in neat bundles, and pushes your most important emails to the top. Everything else (newsletters, receipts, promotions) gets sent to your “Other” inbox. You can easily switch between the two when you need to, and you can easily assign specific emails to either inbox – Spike will remember your preference for next time.
To help you take the next step in email prioritization, Spike also includes a pin feature that allows you to keep specific emails and contacts in plain sight. Simply pin those messages that you need instant access to, and they’ll remain at the top of your inbox until you unpin them. In addition to this, you’ll find all the usual star, archive, and delete functions that you’ve come to expect from other email clients, alongside a host of advanced features that are pushing email into the 21st century.
Try Spike today and get organized. Tweet us @SpikeNowHQ and tell us how Spike helps you streamline your workflow.