How many emails are sitting in your inbox right now? Are they waiting patiently and sweetly in your inbox for your next thoughtfully-scheduled check-in? Or, are the outbound emails you have yet to press ‘send’ on calling your name—reminding you of your ever-revolving to-do list? Email is emotional.
Online communication is an essential part of our workflow. Moreover, it’s how we stay connected to the people we work and partner with. Overtime, Cultivate employees have learned how to manage our inboxes like we manage ourselves at work: with care and a balanced approach to mental health. Because wellness shouldn’t stop when you step outside of your home, it should carry into the workplace as well.
At Cultivate, we’re physically and emotionally managing our inboxes, for the sake of our work and our post-work selves.
1 Manage outbound emails thoughtfully
Outbound emails can be more intimidating than an endless inbox.
Start by reassuring yourself by reviewing drafts carefully, ensuring each email is complete before pressing send. It’s okay to miss simple errors but try to hone in on the details if you can. We’ve all hit send on an imperfect email. Instead of stressing, just sit back and watch the message zoom off into the digital ether. Then send a correction email ASAP.
Bonus wellness tip: we’ve also learned that if there’s an email we have to send, it’s more productive to write it out as a separate, specific task. Thoughtful emailing can be tiring, so giving each email its own space on your to-do list is a practice of self-respect.
2 Disconnect and consume a different type of media
When in doubt, click out. If you start getting too much in your head around emails, pop into your favorite social platform and read some of the latest info on impactful companies or current news/events. If you can find a space that has little expectation, yet remains relevant to the work you’re doing, fill your cup with words from industry leaders and maybe some lighthearted content before diving back into your inbox.
Bonus wellness tip: Take a few deep breaths before opening your inbox each day. On nonstop days, it’s helpful to do this between sends, too. Pausing to breathe helps you to feel more present and get out of your mile-a-minute business brain.
3 Delete, file, delete; repeat
Delete ruthlessly. Unsubscribe ruthlessly. If it’s not adding value to your inbox (or “sparking joy” if that suits you better), ditch it. If you might come back for it later, file it in an appropriately labeled folder. If inbox infinity is more your style, go for it—just find what works for you. The goal is to not feel waves of stress or anxiety when you open your email each morning.
Bonus wellness tip: If you can, sneak out for a ten-minute walk. This usually gives your brain and body enough mental and physical space to come back feeling refreshed and confident to power through the rest of your workday.
A self-care-focused inbox is one that doesn’t nag you, doesn’t keep you up at night, or detract from your most important work. It’s an inbox that empowers you, serves you, and moves you forward.
Cheers, fellow emailers. We’ve got this.