Stop using your email inbox as a task management tool. There are only three actions you can take with email:
Trash it – never a bad plan to periodically unsubscribe from almost everything.
Act on it – if you can accomplish the task in two minutes or less, do it right then and there.
Decide when you’ll act on it – don’t let the email sit in your inbox; rather, move the to-do to your task management system and then calendar when you’ll address it.
Treat your email inbox similar to your mailbox at your house: you check it once a day, empty it entirely, process what’s there, or put it in a pile to be addressed later. You don’t constantly open the mailbox, take items out, turn them over, experience pangs of stress and resentment, and put those very same items back in the mailbox so you go through this misery again later. Email is a communication tool, not a task management tool. Aim to touch each email only once (or twice if you've decided to act on it again later). As long as your inbox is your to-do list, dread and overwhelm are close at hand. The better solution is to act on what can acted upon in the moment, and then write everything else down so you can see the scope of the work ahead of you, and make strategic investments of time and energy to accomplish it.
_____________________________________________ At Trellis Group, we believe chaos is the enemy of the small business. It's our mission to partner with small business owners and their teams to develop the managerial practices and processes to crush chaos. Revenues go up, anxiety goes down, and work becomes a force multiplier for good in the lives of your people. Reach out to discover how the Trellis Group can help you crush chaos.