Top 3 Benefits to Maintaining a Clean Inbox

Reducing the number of unread emails in your inbox can help you be more productive.

First let me say that I believe I will forever and always have unread messages in my inbox. Email comes in so quickly (and I won't even tell you how many email accounts I have) that it would be like a game of whack-a-mole if I truly wanted empty mailboxes.

But I, like you I imagine, have limits to how many unread emails I can tolerate for long stretches of time. Truly, there isn't any reason to have thousands of unread messages lingering for weeks and months -- there really isn't. (And yet I find myself here time and again.)

So, when that point in time comes, when I (or you) just can't accept seeing the email message count climb any higher, it's time to do some serious decluttering -- and it really doesn't have to take long!

As a small business owner, you really don't have hours to spend going through unread emails, right? I know I don't -- which is why the count keeps increasing.

Everyone has different methods for purging emails quickly. This post isn't about the how; it's about the why -- 3 simple benefits to tackling this job.

My top 3 benefits to keeping the inbox clean:

1. Reconnect with people

I sort my unread emails before deleting, and always always always find messages from people I haven't connected with in a while. These emails get sent to my CRM system and assigned a date for follow up. There are even times when seeing one person's name triggers a reminder about (re-)connecting or following up with another person and I add their name to my task list.

2. Feel accomplished

Seeing that number of unread emails go from 4 figures (literally thousands) to double digits gives a feeling of accomplishment that always puts a smile on my face. Whether it's simply deleting spam, or deleting emails that included tasks I've already completed, it feels good to get the old stuff out of the way. Cleaning the email box on a Friday afternoon is a fantastic way to start a weekend with a sense of accomplishment.

3. Relax

After getting the numbers of unattended emails down -- seldom to zero, because, like I mentioned, emails come in faster than I can manage, it really is a time to sit back and relax -- to enjoy the sense of knowing I'm going to reconnect with people, enjoy the feeling of accomplishment for at least the weekend, and not have to have that niggling worry whenever I open my email that there's "so much" to read!

I'll share tips for actually reducing email clutter in a future post. For now, I hope you're inspired to tackled this task -- you'll be surprised how great it feels to reduce the virtual clutter! And with the clutter out of the way, you can stop stressing about it, and focus on the present -- watch your productivity soar.

While you're relaxing on that weekend after a Friday afternoon email purge, check out our current and past issues of Flackery magazine for great productivity tips for small business owners. 

Categories: communication, goals, productivity, succeed