We talk a lot about processing email on this blog. For all its benefits, electronic communication can become overwhelming. I believe the past two weeks represent the greatest opportunity to effectively manage you inbox so as not to drown in well-meaning retailer communications.
The Volume of Sales Is Epic
“Black Friday Sale!” “Biggest Discounts of the Season!” ” Cyber Monday!” “Pre-Cyber Monday!” And then, just when you think it is safe to open the inbox, “Black Friday Deals Extended!” “Cyber….Wednesday!” Or, consider the “all-in” “Cyber WEEK Savings!” The struggle is real. If you aren’t careful, all the holiday email clutter can interfere with your important e-mails.
Set Up a Separate Email Account
One of the best ways I have found to handle the retail promo world is to set up a separate email account. It’s simple to set a new account up and it will keep your personal and/or professional email segregated and protected from the avalanche of sale messages we find this time of year. You will find if you have one account for purchases and ads, it also makes inbox cleanup a snap!
When you go in to process your retail email account, my recommendation is to delete any email ad you do not anticipate acting upon within the next 5 days. For all you coupon clippers feeling a bit of angst at this suggestion, know you can always go to your trash inbox to pick up that one you find you do want to use.
When you are placing an order, use this email address for your receipt of order and package tracking needs. When you are subscribing to a retailer’s advertising list or joining their “club,” again, use this email address.
Consider a Similar Strategy for your “Snail Mail”
The same holds true for the “snail mail” flyers, coupons and ads filling up your mailbox this time of year. When I bring my mail in, I stand by the recycle bin and immediately ditch the unwanted junk and ads. Again, I recommend tossing any pieces you do not plan to use within five days. To be certain, this time of year, most of the retailer offers are only good for a few days anyway.
It’s never too late to start this strategy. As the Chinese proverb goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Clean up what you have in that inbox today, with perhaps a few suggestions here. And clear off that desk or countertop to maintain your clutter-free workspace. Set up your retailer email account and start the process going forward. This time next year, when Black Friday hits, you’ll be ready to focus on all the shopping knowing it will not interfere with your responsibilities and personal communications.
Now, I’m off to process all those packages sitting on my front porch….. Happy holiday shopping!
Sara Genrich is an Organization and Productivity Consultant, an Evernote Certified Consultant and the creator of the Organizing@Work for Success Workshop. She’s committed to providing real-life solutions so her clients have time to focus on the things that really matter.