Vacations can help you reduce the stress of work, but that feeling of bliss doesn’t last long. A survey from the American Psychological Association found the benefits of time away dissipate within a few days. Maybe it’s facing the reality of that overflowing inbox?
It may seem like a no-brainer, but Fast Company compiled some tips to help tackle your inbox more effectively:
Before you leave: Set up rules in your inbox so that certain emails go into specific folders, suggests Tom Cuthbert, master chair and CEO coach for Vistage, an executive coaching and peer advisory organization. For example, have your meeting invites or client messages sent to different folders so you can tackle emails by type and importance.
While you’re gone: Consider doing a mid-vacation email sweep to clear topics that just need a simple response, but do it during off hours, so your emails are less likely to trigger immediate follow-ups or calls. While waiting at the airport, triage your inbox by clearing out messages that are unimportant, such as newsletters or emails where you’re CC’d.
When you get back: Set aside time to get caught up. It can help to set up a meeting with your team instead of having to wade through email threads, says Cuthbert. You can also build an “email catch-up window” into your schedule, and put it on your calendar before leaving. Start by deleting the junk, and then gain a bit of traction by handling emails requiring the least amount of attention. Then focus on mid-level emails that may require a bit more thought, but don’t require additional meetings, research, or follow-ups. Finish by tackling the long-term emails—the messages that can sit in your inbox for a while until the answers can be determined. Read the full story for more email tips.