Keeping Your Inbox Clean: Tips for Productivity in the Workplace

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At work, my email inbox is my whole world. I check it constantly and it dictates my task list and how my day runs. But I had to ask myself if I was in control of it, or was it controlling me? And was that approach leading to productivity in the workplace?

I found it overwhelming to be caught up with a time consuming (and important) task that kept me away from my beloved inbox and I would helplessly watch the number of unread emails grow. In attempts to stay sane and organized, I try to follow these tips to keep my inbox clean:

Aim for an empty inbox – I file or delete every email. The only emails that remain in my inbox are those that still have an outstanding task/to-do.

Handle emails immediately – I answer emails as I go through them and try not to just quickly read them and go back to them later. If possible, I don’t even read another email until the open one is handled. I find that emails that sit there just have to be reviewed again later, costing me more valuable time and energy.

Clean up subscription emails – We all have them. You signed up for newsletters or websites years ago and now you receive emails constantly. They bog down your inbox every day. To save yourself some time and the amount of emails you have to delete, unsubscribe from these email lists.

Although I still live my day by my inbox, I feel in control and have an email-checking routine that works for me. I believe there is not one right way to manage your email. Just figure out what works for you and then do it!


The Culture Counts blog is a discussion of law firm culture and legal innovation, including topics such as effective leadership, employee engagement, workplace culture, ideal work environment, company core values, and workplace productivity.  

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