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Tackle your Back-from-Holiday Inbox in no time

With many preparing for a summer break, here are a few tips to keep your cool about returning to an overflowing inbox.

Even though we're on a break, our inboxes continue to influence the way we experience our time off. In our Speedmailing workshops at Email Handyman, we like sharing the Back from Holiday Crunch as a quick way to process a large volume of emails in your inbox. This can also be used to get your new emailing habits. The Back from Holiday Crunch uses the same principles, so emails are still decided and sorted on a one-by-one basis. However, in the Back from Holiday Crunch two extra rules apply:

  • Forget the Two-Minute Rule.
  • Apply the Law of Getting Bored Twice.

What does this mean? Simply start with the newest of your emails and get sorting. However, during a routine inbox sorting, you would immediately address messages that require only two minutes to do. When in Back-from-Holiday mode, move it to your ACTION / DO THIS WEEK folder instead. This way, you will get into a flow of making quick sorting decisions only. Doing just one thing over and over in quick succession enables you to get through a lot of messages in a short time.

Bored once, bored twice... done!

As you work your way down, you will notice that the emails are becoming less relevant. We call this getting bored. As soon as you get bored for the first time, stop processing emails one by one and simply "go fishing" by scrolling down to spot important emails and move those to the applicable folder (FILE / DO / LATER / WAIT). Continue this until you get bored again. After the second strike of boredom, select all (yes, we're serious, all!) remaining emails (Ctrl + A) and move them to your FILED ITEMS in one go. Now that your inbox is empty, return to your  DO THIS WEEK folder to get on with your work. 

Using the Back from Holiday Crunch has reduced the time we spend on processing email backlogs after a holiday leave from up to 2 days to less than 2 hours. You might miss one or two older action items, but at least you are back working on the important matters halfway through the same morning!

==> How do you deal with work emails that come in during your time off? We'd love to hear your tips and experiences in the comments section below.

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