Drowning in emails? It's all too easy to get lost in constantly responding to the demands of an unending email inbox. But, using traditional time management skills, effective email time management - the process of using skills, tools and methods to accomplish tasks and goals – can help control your inbox in an effective and organized manner. To get organized now, email time management can be used in both personal and professional work, to help us become more efficient, focused and goal-driven, to meet achievements in a suitable time-frame.

Taking control of your inbox and managing your time more efficiently helps to keep you motivated and focused and ensures free time is maximized, giving you a break from an endless email cycle. This gives you the space to focus on the real priorities you have and boost your personal effectiveness.

By following these 13 simple steps, you can become more productive and efficient at email time management.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #1:

Don't constantly check your inbox. Set certain times of the day to catch up on messages. If you are easily distracted by those 'new mail' messages that pop up in the corner of your screen, close the email program completely between checking. First thing in the morning, mid-morning, after lunch, mid-afternoon and evening are more than enough checks in one day – the world won't collapse in between.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #2:

Remember if something is really urgent, you are likely to get a phone call or have someone come speak to you about it. So don't pressurize yourself to keep checking your mail, unless you know something urgent is about to drop – worry about it when it happens.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #3:

Will a phone call be faster? Sometimes, it's a lot quicker to respond to an email by picking up the phone and talking to the sender. You can clarify any queries and save yourself the time of writing a lengthy reply.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #4:

Categorize your emails. Use your email functions to color code your incoming mails into categories. That way, when you are searching for an old email or prioritizing your activities, the process can be speeded up.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #5:

Set up inbox rules. Send circulars, newsletters and mails where you are only a 'CC' recipient directly into their own folders. That way, they don't clutter your inbox and you can take time to catch up on them when you have attended to the priority emails.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #6:

Use your task list. Add any actions from emails into your email program's task list. Set a start deadline and a completion deadline. Most systems also allow these tasks to be flagged with others, sending auto-reminders when the deadline is approaching – saving you the time and trouble of chasing them yourself.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #7:

Delegate where possible. If there is something that someone else is better spending their time on than you, then pass it on to them, after checking they have time in their schedule to meet the deadline.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #8:

Work through emails systematically. Don't just pick the most interesting ones to read first. Keep a system of working oldest email to newest, to make sure your priorities are kept in check.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #9:

Build yourself a 'time cushion'. Recognize that while you can't factor for an email emergency, you can ensure you have some free time built into every day to take account of these unplanned distractions.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #10:

Make others aware of your inbox management. Be sure to tell other people that you only check your mail at certain times of day, and if there is anything urgent, give them guidance on how best to communicate with you. That way, you'll be sure not to miss anything important and will prevent some unnecessary email traffic.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #12:

Empty your deleted items weekly. Set aside some time to download and file any attachments that you will need for later and move the finished with emails into the deleted folder. Once you've cleared all your unnecessary items, empty the deleted folder too.

Get organized now – Email Time Management Tip #13:

Try to keep your inbox content at less than 10 emails. That way, your email inbox never overwhelms you with hundreds of emails so that you don't even know where to start. Be sure to use your out of office assistant for periods where you will be away.

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