New Year, New Outlook

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Looking to 2022, for most people a New Year’s Resolution is all about self-improvement, trying to be that little bit better than last year. However, you don’t need a fad diet, a new exercise routine or time to contemplate and achieve peace of mind. If you want a better, stress-free day look no further than your mailbox.

Listed below are four small, simple, changes which soon add up and have a great effect on how easy it is for you to manage your workload, bringing down those stress levels.

1. Organise and reduce the size of your mailbox
Quite simply a smaller, tidier mailbox is easier to manage by both yourself and the computer.

First up – Reduce the overall number and then file the existing mails. Cutting back means you will have less trouble finding the content you need. You don’t need to be heavy-handed and deleting large chunks of mails. Instead, create meaningful folder structures to get a great number of mails out of your main Inbox in a way that still means something to you. Storing mails from Company A Ltd to the same location each time means you can find what you want quickly.

But what to do when, try as you might, your mailbox is still an unmanageable size? Take that same folder structure and replicate it outside of your main mailbox in a Personal Mail Store, better known as a PST. These can be safely stowed away, out of the main mailbox, for when you need to refer to them.

So that’s unwanted historical mail cut, required mails filed nicely and longer-term mails stored out of the mailbox in a PST.

Still one more thing to consider. Does that mail really need to be kept? If you move everything into an archive you’re just moving or postponing the problem. Look at the information contained within the mail. A simple reply of ‘thanks’ doesn’t need to be kept if you’ve safely filed away the previous correspondence. Old newsletters you probably didn’t look at when they arrived don’t need to be stored away, the offers will have expired, the news old – just delete them. Get into the habit of doing this as mails drop-in and you’ll soon find a clearer inbox with very little effort.

2. Email links not files

Another way to reduce the size of your mailbox is to look at the content of the mails you’re sending. This doesn’t address the overall number of mails, but the storage required to store your mailbox. If you take a file from the network, make some changes, and then email that to a colleague, you now have a copy of that file living in your sent items. If further changes are made and the file is sent back to you, you now have a copy in your sent items and your inbox. As does your colleague. You can see how over time this can easily grow to be unmanageable.

To avoid the above scenario, it is far easier to email either a link to the file or its location on the network. This reduces space in your mailbox, limits the chance of duplicate files and every user knows they are working with the current data.

3. Use meaningful subjects

Now your mailbox is a little tidier it would be best to make sure that what remains is a little more meaningful. If you’re looking for one mail in particular a list of 30+ mails with the subject “RE:” is no good to anyone. Putting in a subject, even if it is just a single, descriptive word, will make it easier to navigate your inbox and to understand at a glance what remains. Colleagues will thank you as it is immediately obvious if something requires their attention.

This is not to say all subjects are created equal. Limit your use of words and phrases that demand an urgent response such as “Urgent”, “Immediate Action Required” and “Quick, Help!” as such demands become less effective when used repeatedly – save those subjects for the genuine emergencies.

Don’t be afraid to change the subject. If you’ve pulled out some old emails or if the conversation has drifted to another point, change that subject to reflect this. Using an old unrelated subject is almost as bad as using no subject.

4. Consider your CC usage

This is your chance to do your bit and help your colleagues. After the initial introduction or point is made, and subsequent replies are “thanks” or move onto other topics, question whether original recipients need to be included in that CC list.

An inbox full of content that one needs to read to be sure there isn’t any salient information can be worse than an inbox full of sales orientated newsletters. If you’ve been Cc’d on those emails then it must be for a reason, right? In that scenario every email needs to be read to be sure of the content before ultimately deciding they’re irrelevant and deleting them. Do your bit, drop the Cc’s help your colleagues manage their mailbox.

And if they need further help managing their mailbox, why not send them this article (with a meaningful subject)?

For any help or advice on this topic, please do give us a call on 0118 9767111.