When you open your letter box what do you do with all the unwanted mail? Circulars, bills for the previous occupant and anything addressed to Dear Householder. Do you leave it in the box or carefully file with everything that you want to keep? No, so why do you do that with your email?
Some people see the size of their inbox as a status symbol. They think they’re important because the number of items is in four figures. Others spend the whole day dreading the regular arrival of irrelevant emails. Recently I’ve taken a more proactive approach, deleting almost everything as soon as it arrives. I call this ASK, standing for Act, Save, and Know. When you view an email you should ask immediately, Do I really need to know this? If not, delete. Remember that regular senders of irrelevant material can be blocked or diverted automatically to junk.
Next ask if you need to keep the email. Usually it is the attached or linked documents that contain the important information. Save them in an appropriate folder for later reference then delete the email. Finally ask if you need to action anything. Does the email require a response? If so, send one, and delete the original. Your reply, and the original email, are saved in Sent Items if you ever need them again.
These steps enable you to keep the inbox nice and tidy, so that you can concentrate on talking to colleagues and clients about important matters.