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Working style: Organize your mailbox

Updated: Nov 19, 2022

Jambo born to enlighten. Ahoj the one before the crowd. Change is inevitable. Either we anticipate it, or we adapt to it, or we endure it. Don't put up (undergo) with your professional career, build it. Sometimes what you need is not additional knowledge, but a method of applying what you already know. I have always been aware of my gift for writing. But, it was after reading What Every Christian Writer Needs to Know, by Prophetess Jennifer Leclaire, and The Scribal anointing, by Prophetess Theresa Harvard Johnson that I realized how I could start and especially that I did not have to confine myself to a literary genre. May the HOLY SPIRIT lead you to the teachings you need. Be blessed at your arrival and at your departure.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest." __ Ecclesiastes 9:10, KJ

Organizing your mailbox is a habit to take from the first days of taking up a post. It's never too late to put things right, but the sooner we practice the right things, the better. First days, we discover the company, its activities, its professions, how it is organized, and how it communicates. Then we discover the tools and our different tasks. During this period, we have to assimilate, understand, memorize and process a certain amount of information. Some days we come close to information overload (info obesity or over information). Naturally, during this phase of learning, adaptation, and handling, the management of the mailbox comes second. Especially since at this time, we generally do not yet have enough hindsight to assess the importance and recurrence of certain emails or types of emails. It's understandable. However, the danger is that by focusing on the management aspect of the position one tends to neglect the management aspect of the position which is more long-term.

When you think about it, email isn't just a communication tool. It is a real working tool; allowing us to exchange, receive, send and store information, but much more to manage our time and our priorities. Corporate culture differs from one entity to another. When it comes to reporting and communication tools, not all companies are created equal. For one, the information is in the tools, for the other in emails and telephone conversations. Some are equipped with collaborative communication software and platforms (e.g. Skype, Teams, Zoom). Others have an internal social network (e.g. Ellium, Netfrance, workplace).

First days, you will not receive a lot of emails. The days will follow, but will not be alike. Over time, emails will accumulate. I receive an average of thirty emails per day (double the weeks of high activity). I know some who get a lot more. A messaging inundated with unclassified emails can generate stress, loss of productivity (concentration) and, time. It is true, let's admit, that some people get along with it without difficulty. But, they are a minority. Below are my tips for avoiding this situation.

1. Don't mix up your roles (separation)

"But all things must be done appropriately and in an orderly manner." (1 Corinthians 14:40)

Your professional email is professional and not personal. Using your work email (or business email) for personal purposes, for other purposes than those specified in your employment contract, is dishonest. By doing so, you expose your employer to cybercrime and you spread yourself thin in your time management. Separating your roles means respecting the time allotted to each and learning to disconnect when necessary. It's giving yourself real breaks. It is written "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). Amen! It is also written " There is a time for everything" (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Amen too!

2. Do not oppose your roles (complementarity)

"For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:6)

Yes to separation, no to opposition. You are the same person at home, at church, and at the office. You can write private appointments (ex: medical examination) in your professional diary to remember them. Not opposing roles is recognizing priorities and needs. For example, take advantage of your lunch breaks to call relatives, run the washing machine or receive deliveries.

3. Decide to read your emails regularly (decision)

"Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee; and the light shall shine upon thy ways." (Job 22:28)

Organize yourself as you want, but, organize yourself. In the morning, before lunch, or at the end of the day, give yourself time to read, process and answer your emails. I recommend checking your mailbox 4 to 5 times a day or every 3 hours. Don't let the number of unread emails overwhelm or discourage you. The goal is not to check your mailbox every 5 minutes. Otherwise, you'll spend your time doing nothing else. This is one of the most common reasons for resignation in companies.

Some people quit not because they don't like their job, but because they feel they are always in a hurry or fear they will have to spend more time answering emails (the ah-oc requests) than doing what is important. The challenge is to integrate the unexpected (other people's emergencies) without disrupting your priorities. The first few months this challenge will seem impossible or difficult to achieve. Don't give up. The more autonomous you become, the better you anticipate your priorities and the better you manage the unexpected. If this feeling persists even though you are autonomous and have prayed for the LORD's help, it is either an indicator that you need help with your job or an alert from the HOLY SPIRIT asking you to prepare to leave your job. I wrote "prepare to leave" and not "leave" because a departure must be prepared.

4. Tag or categorize (identification)

Tags are for unread or unprocessed emails. Tagging or categorizing your emails allows you to distinguish between emails you need to respond to, emails you need to take action on, and emails you just need to read.

5. Create folders (storage)

"There is a place for everything and everything should be in its place." It is my rephrasing of the famous quote by the Scotsman Samuel Smiles (1812 - 1904).

It is well known that a tidy space is good for morale. In the same way, an organized email is a productivity factor. Folders allow you to quickly find an email (or the last email of a series of exchanges). Personally, I have folders by theme and, if necessary, subfolders for recurring emails. I only leave unread or unprocessed emails in the inbox.

6. Deletes mails without any added value (de-cluttering)

"He that is slothful in his work is a brother to him that is a great waster." (Proverbs 18:9)

There is no point in keeping e-mails without any added value in your mailbox. Typically these are thank you, greeting (birthday, Christmas, New Year, etc.) or congratulations mails. Once you have read and answered them, you can delete them.

7. Take notes

There are applications such as reminders, and Post-it that allow you to write down your to-do list (things to do) or your talk-about list (things to discuss). Taking notes will help you organize and avoid forgetting what is important in favor of what is urgent.

** Jambo = Good morning in Swahili (Tanzania)

** Ahoj = Hello in Slovak



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