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As a business professional, you likely receive far too many emails on a regular basis. Whether you’re receiving emails related to your business, personal messages, or newsletters and coupons you signed up for, you likely feel overwhelmed with the amount of email you’re getting and spend far too much time sorting through all of it. You may be receiving some important emails, but for the most part, they can wait a few hours to get a response, especially if you are accessible through a work phone number.

It’s time to stop wasting valuable time sorting through emails, many of which are pointless. You deserve this time back so you can put it toward accomplishing even more in your career. Your time is precious, especially if you’re running your own business, so don’t let emails hold you back from achieving your goals. Follow some of these tips to avoid getting caught up in emails when you could be spending time doing something more productive.

Set times to check email

The biggest mistake people make with email is checking it far too often. Avoid checking your email every hour and spending time aimlessly scrolling through your inbox without actually doing anything. Checking your email when you start and end work each day and it should be sufficient, unless you’re expecting an extremely important email that day. When you do check your email, respond to it as soon as you read the email, whether it’s to let someone know you’ll get back to them with an answer later or to answer their email immediately. Any task that takes you a few minutes to complete is best done as soon as it’s presented to you instead of continuously putting it off.

Create separate accounts and folders

While it’s likely you have separate email accounts for your personal and business emails, you might want to consider organizing your emails even further. If you currently only use one email, you should definitely make separate accounts for work emails and personal emails. If you subscribe to newsletters and store emails, you can create another email to send those to, so you can check it when you want to use the coupons. Within your accounts, create folders that send emails from specific addresses to that folder and hold them all together, such as emails from restaurants and emails from stores. You can use the same method for your work email.

Utilize phone calls

Many emails could be resolved in a simple phone call that lasts a few minutes, but people waste time sending countless emails back and forth covering various questions and details. However, make sure to send follow-up emails to conversations so you have everything discussed in writing. Make it clear to business partners that you’re available through a phone call and are ready to set up scheduled calls.

Clear your inbox

Finally, before embarking on your journey to avoid getting preoccupied with email, take the time to finally clear out your inbox. I’m sure there are plenty of emails you’ve been putting off responding to or deleting for whatever reason. Now is the time to take care of those emails and finish with any loose ends you have left in your inbox. Once it’s clear, do not let emails pile up again.