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Many people have told me that it’s not a problem for them, to have hundreds to thousands of emails in their inbox.  For most people, this DOES affect them and their business, in negative ways that they aren’t even aware of.

Here are 4 reasons why:  

1.  Your inbox acts as another To Do List so you can’t Prioritize all your tasks

I’ve done this, and you know what happened?  I did the reactive, less important tasks verses the proactive, important tasks that would actually propel my business forward faster – to create the THRIVING life I aspire to! Instead of using your inbox as one of your To Do lists, put your tasks from your email into a task management program that works for YOUR brain, where you can prioritize what actions will move you toward your goals.  

2.  You feel less in control of your life 

There have been studies that show that people are happier when they have more control over their lives.  One of the happiest professionals listed were Doctors!  Think about how much control they have…over their patients, staff, and lots of money to feel secure…  When you “process” vs “check” your email and file information in the right places to be able to use later, you’ll feel more in control of your life.

3.  You waste time and precious brain energy

When you leave emails in your inbox and have to look through many emails to find what you’re looking for – you’re wasting your precious decision-making energy.  Kelly McGonigal, who wrote the Willpower Instinct, has done extensive research on willpower and motivation, and has learned that most of us use up our willpower by mid-morning due to all the small decisions we make.  Save some of your brain power for more important tasks…

4.  Client tasks and communication fall through the cracks

You want to not only provide decent client service – but a WOW factor.  Setting up a program that can act as your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), will be a place that you can store client information (from your email) in one place, so that you are on top of things and consistently delight your clients:)  This allows you to delete any client emails from your inbox.

When I became a business owner, I had to change the way I used email – not only to survive, but to move towards thriving.  

I have searched far and wide (from some of the best mentors in the organizing and productivity fields) to come up with an email system that I think pulls together the best systems and programs out there.  Once it’s setup, you’ll be able to rest assured that things aren’t falling through the cracks. You’ll feel more in control of your life, and you’ll be building your decision-making skills on a daily basis, that will have positive ripples throughout your life.

The 5 Main Tools you need to “process” and empty your email inbox:

  1. Task Management Program to store tasks AND prioritize them
  2. Digital Reference Program to store reference information and be able to find it when you need it
  3. Calendar for event information
  4. Action folders in your email program that help you “batch” similar activities to be more efficient
  5. CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) program to store each client’s information in one place

I used to keep over 100 emails in my inbox that drained my energy.  I hear many people put down the Inbox Zero idea, but I actually prefer for that to be my goal each day.  After a couple of years of working towards Inbox Zero, I can now say that I reach my goal 95% of the time and the other 5% I have 2 or less emails in there that get processed within a couple days. Ultimately, even with that many emails in my inbox, I still find myself wasting time looking at the emails and being pulled towards doing those tasks (no matter how important they are).  What is your maximum number of emails for your email inbox right now to feel on top of your communication with others?

Inspired Action:

Let’s free up some energy in your life.  Take 15 minutes and “process” as many emails in your inbox as possible (start with the most recent).  Then look at what’s left, and think about which of the 5 tools listed above may be missing from your email “system” to be able to clear out your inbox.