How to Outsmart Email Debt Forgiveness Day
Email is dead, right?
You wouldn’t know that looking at our inbox. Or yours.
Despite articles like this and this that herald the death of electronic mail, it still dominates communications. Each day, more than 260 billion emails are sent worldwide, and that number will hit 319 billion in the next four years.
So get ready, because email is bound to overpower your inbox and disrupt your productivity well into the next decade.
The Era of Email Roadkill
We all have those emails that get lost or overlooked. The ones you planned on responding to or the ones you just deliberately ignored.
You run into them days or weeks later and undergo an emotional roller coaster.
Confusion. Shame. Then back to anxiety. Is it too late to respond now? What will the recipient think? What will it say about you or your business?
Amnesty Day for Emails
Surprisingly enough, there’s a new holiday dedicated to these virtual orphans: Email Debt Forgiveness Day. It’s a pretty simple (and welcome) concept from the hosts of the “Reply All” podcast. Today, face those stragglers and respond guilt-free. Include a link to the page as your forgiveness passport. All done.
So sure, you can get out of your anxiety-ridden email debt. But what if you didn’t incur that debt in the first place? What if you had perfectly manageable email?
1. Get out of email altogether.
Email is a crutch. Sometimes a necessary crutch, but not one we need all the time. Some messages can be avoided altogether by turning to the cloud.
Free or low-cost project management solutions let you determine the progress of projects, set deadlines, assign tasks, and more.
Options like Google Drive allow you to store, share, and edit documents without having to attach, send, and track versions. Calendars shared via cloud-based solutions cut back on the “What time can you meet?” hoopla. You see times available, select one, and you’re done. Expense solutions let you snap a picture of your receipt and auto-populate it to an expense report your accounting department can access. No emails needed.
The point is this: Find who the main email clutter culprits are and move as much of those communications to the cloud.
2. Automate out of the e-mess.
You have a bill to pay. And with that review process comes 8 million emails about it. You know—true nail-biters like, “Has payment been sent?” and “Just approve the bill, Karen!”
Bypass the email clutter by using a solution that will automate the bill payment workflow and track each step of the process for you. Simple. And easy on the inbox.
You can also use AI-based programs to prioritize, organize, and automatically respond to emails on your behalf. It’s your own virtual assistant.
3. Go for the push.
There’s always an app to help. Remember cloud-based solutions? They help on the mobile front as well. No need for emails. A push notification on your phone takes over the task.
Another mobile plus: Messaging apps. You can get real-time answers without unleashing a deluge of emails. Send a chat. Get a response. Go on with your day.
4. Stop it before it hits your inbox.
Embrace the unsubscribe. Be ruthless. Get rid of newsletters you don’t read and notices of webinars you never attend.
5. Bypass electronic for organic.
Pick up the phone or snag your coworker in the hallway. A quick conversation can provide clarity and eliminate an onslaught of emails.
We believe that “zero inbox” is an urban legend, but with tips like the ones above, you can tame your email and maybe even outsmart Email Debt Forgiveness Day.