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SHOW DATE: SEPTEMBER 11, 2013

Email is such a large chunk of your life these days that your inbox management skills can be a big factor in getting you a promotion.

Your employer needs to know that you’re at the top of your game, and being organized and efficient with your inbox is a great way to show off your know-how.

Here are three tips to help you (smartly) manage your inbox:

  1. Don’t answer emails immediately. You’ll look like the guy that has nothing better to do than stare at your inbox all day, desperately waiting for contact from the outside world. Conversely, you don’t want to wait forever. So you balance these two extremes by…
  2. Not answering email during you peak performance time. Don’t waste your most productive hours of the day ripping your hair out trying to answer every… damn… email. Pick a few times of the day where you hunker down and hole up in your virtual trenches, like noon, 2pm and 5pm, or 11am and 3pm, or whatever. Don’t let emails hijack your precious time and distract you from important projects when you got your A-game flowing. You don’t want to eat breakfast, drink your coffee, get pumped and excited for the day and then spend the next two hours answering email, crawling out of the ordeal exasperated and frustrated at the wasted time.
  3. If you get a lot of email, like, a lot, we’re talking 100+, don’t even try to go back into your inbox to answer yesterday’s emails. Let’s say you get 200 emails today and you try to get back to a few people tomorrow, only to be buried under and new batch of emails. Let people know that you’re not the kind of guy who sits around your inbox all day (this ties in nicely with the first point). Inform them that if you don’t get back to them within 24 hours, they should forward you their original emails. And if you say you’re going to get back to them, make sure you actually do so.

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