Email can quickly get out of control. I try to "tame" it on a regular basis, but I take special steps at the end of a school year. Today, I'm sharing them with you. You can use these at any time of the year and the more you keep your email in check, the less you feel like it's a battle. Let's jump in!
Make next year's folder:
I do this for NEXT school year at the end of the year. For example, I've already created a 2023-2024 folder. That way, when items start coming my way, I can go ahead and tuck them away.
Unsubscribe to unwanted/unread listservs:
Do people call them "listservs" anymore? I get a TON of these kinds of emails - thank you conferences - and it really helps me keep my inbox clean when I click the unsubscribe buttons. It takes about 6 seconds ... which I remind myself, that would be what it would take for me to delete that company's email for 2 months. So really, I'm saving myself time in the long run.
Create a "summer vacation" autoreply:
This might something worthwhile, but not necessary ... depending on your personal feelings. Crafting a "I'm on summer vacation until XXX. I'm resting, re-energizing, and recalibrating so I can start off next year strong." ... then possibly add a message about the frequency with which you check your email over the summer. It could be that you won't be checking regularly or however you are comfortable sharing. This is TRULY OPTIONAL!
Adjust your email:
I find teachers sometimes use their school account for personal email items. I do NOT recommend this. I strongly encourage teachers to switch these to their personal accounts. This might only cause issues down the road. And if you don't have a personal email, make one and then make the switch. Gmail is a completely free option and there are plenty of other ones out there.
Go through your spam/junk folder:
I know this might seem backwards - why would you go through this folder? I've found that there are emails that I've missed because they've been tagged junk. The longer they sit there, the more I will miss them and some emails I've found in there are ones I need to respond to. (This is probably good practice every month or so.)
DELETE. DELETE. DELETE:
I don't do this often enough. I hold onto emails thinking I'll get back to them. And I don't. I go ahead and delete them at the end of the year. Seriously .... the delete button is sometimes your best friend!
P.S. I do not subscribe to the "zero inbox" rule and I DO use my inbox as a "to do" list. While these aren't bad ideas, zero inbox stresses me out beyond belief and I'll keep emails until I tackle that project/need/request and then I take care of it.
Bottom line - how you do email is a very personal thing. I hope my suggestions above help you feel more confident in control over your email.
If you are a Gmail user, I have written several blogs focusing on tips & tricks and helping you clean up your email. You find them under my Gmail label.
What is your top tip when dealing with email? I'd love to know! You can post it in the comments or email it directly to me - firstname.lastname@example.org .
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