Tips & Best Practices
There may be more people with split personalities walking among us. You may in fact be one of them. How do you know? Check out your work inbox vs. your personal inbox. At work, you may be the OCD type that responds instantly to e-mail, takes care of all related tasks, and deletes with a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and overall well-being. What about your personal inbox? If you treat that inbox with the same immediacy as your work inbox, you are safe from the split personality diagnosis. If you are like some others among us, your personal mailbox may be cluttered with all kinds of emails that you just don’t really feel like dealing with (especially at the end of a work day in which you were on top of everything for 8 hours non-stop).
Maybe these descriptions don’t fit you at all. What is your inbox style? We’ve already touched on the “deleter” types (see above). Once you deal with it, you want it out of your inbox, your files, and your mind. You don’t like clutter in your mind, your email, your house, or anywhere else for that matter.
Maybe you are an electronic pack-rat (for those who prefer a more positive connotation, you can use the words frugal, thrifty, or someone-who-possesses-enough-foresight-to-realize-when-something-might-come-in-handy-later). You save every file, document, YouTube link, forward…in case you might need it. Almost reminds you of teachers in the olden days who saved magazines to cut out pictures for future bulletin boards. Unfortunately, these types usually have no system of organizing their emails—so these carefully hoarded emails may never be found when (if) the moment of need comes. If you have an organization system that works, great—hoard away.
Maybe the way your inbox looks is comparable to the way your closet at home looks. When you have time, it is impeccably organized/color coded/neatly lined rows of shoes, etc. When your life gets busy, things just end up a little bit scrambled—even though it’s not your preference. It’s easy during a hectic day at work not to drop those emails in the proper folder or forget to reply to something relatively important. This in-between type is a reflection of life circumstances.
So what does it matter what kind of inbox you have? Simplifying your life and have more time for the good stuff is a great reason. Some tips for organizing your inbox (and subsequently, your life). Make sure subject lines are relevant and to the point. It’s easier to categorize and locate emails that are concise and well labeled. If you are writing to the deleters among us, this will probably get their prompt attention. If you are writing to a hoarder, at least they can search by subject and find what they are looking for. The in-between? Well, make it as interesting as possible so that even if it’s one of those hectic days, they’ll be more likely to take a look.
Creative Director and all around cool guy. In his free time you will find him jamming in the local music scene around Austin, TX with his band, With An Orange. You can also follow him on twitter @eConnectEmail