October 15, 2013, 12:23 PM — If you're like every other e-mail user, you're making a huge mistake when it comes to managing your inbox.
However Alex Cavoulacos over at The Daily Muse has a simple solution to this everyday problem: two filters (or labels, tags or folders, depending on your messaging system).
Filter 1: Quick Reply (less than 5 minutes reply time)
Filter 2: Requires Focused Time (30 minutes or more)
Cavoulacos says e-mail falls into three categories, the two mentioned previously, and a middle category, in which the reply time would take 5 to 30 minutes.
Sorting your e-mail into these three categories means you can be most efficient in replying depending upon the time you have at hand. For instance, if you have 5 minutes before your next meeting, pull up your Quick Reply cache and starting knocking them out.
"When you know you have a solid block of uninterrupted time, start by opening your focused time folder, and decide which ones you most need to tackle," Cavoulacos advises. "Recognizing how rare those large blocks of time are is the key to success: When you have one, take full advantage of it!"
Many professionals get fooled into thinking that eliminating a multitude of Quick Replies over a long block of time is the best way to keep your inbox clear and stay efficient, but that is not the case, Cavoulacos says. In fact, he calls it a "huge mistake." Click below to discover why that approach is the wrong one.