The three-sentence rule will halve your inbox.

There are two types of people in this world, people who open all their emails immediately and file them away in folders, and people who are pure evil.

The latter are the same monsters who probably have a red dot with some ghastly number in the thousands hovering over their email app.

No no no no no. This is not okay.

Wherever you stand though, we can all agree that life admin is a terrible waste of time. And we're all drowning.

Most people send and receive about 122 emails a day. Manning the inbox could easily be a full time job. And not one that any of us would want.

Whether or not you're a type A in pursuit of inbox zero, you are probably in need of an inbox boot camp. And this week on The Well, Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey hunt down some life admin hacks that are absolute godsends.

'I'm in total denial of anything that's got to do with administration I really struggle with it,' says Robin Bailey.

If like Robin you need a little help in this department, we've got you covered.

The Three-Sentence Rule.

Blogger Chris Ducker has a genius rule for cutting down your email time. (Not to be confused with the three second rule in which you can eat food dropped on the floor. Although maybe this could apply to emails, you can only reply to emails received in the last three minutes? We might need to workshop this one a bit more.)

The rule dictates if the reply to an email will take more than three sentences, just pick up the phone and talk to them.

'If someone desperately wants me, they'll call me,' agrees Robin.

Get a filing system.

Bec is on team filing, and seems genuinely baffled by anyone who isn't. I'm with you, Bec.

'I read what's important then if I need to keep it... I file it in a different category,' she says.

The idea is to create folders that will help you easily find that email when you need it. Think: work, school, tax, project A, project B... you get the idea.

And flag, baby, flag! If something is important, chuck a flag next to it. At the end of the day, just check your flags to make sure nothing gets missed.

If categories don't do it for you, try an action-based approach. Make two folders: @read and @reply. A folder for emails you need to read and a folder for emails you need to answer. If you have an email that's not urgent you can store it away to read later. And if an email is in the @reply folder you'll know you need to attend to it.

Bec Sparrow and Robin Bailey are conquering clutter, one email at a time.

Utilise the search function.

The Well's producer Ruth De Glass has a method that will have you asking, 'why didn't I think of that?'


'I have fallen in love with the search function. If I need something I just search for it,' she says.

Scrap your folders, and just search for what you need! You can go by name, date, subject, or content from the body of the email. Whatever you're looking for, you can find it in about three seconds flat.

With all the time you're saving, why not adopt some other habits of successful women? Post continues below.

Cut out the social niceties.

This one comes from happiness guru, Gretchen Rubin (we think we're in love with this woman.)

You'll save loads of time if you eliminate unnecessary greetings in your emails. There's no 'Hey babe,' just get straight into 'I'll see you in ten.'

And anyway, do you really care how they are? If you do, I've said it before and I'll say it again - pick up the phone.

But this one isn't for the faint-hearted. Because let's be honest, we all judge each other on email etiquette.

Just don't read them.

Well not all of them anyway. Finally, something we can all agree on.

'I don't see any point in getting to zero,' says Bec.

How many emails do you get each day? 20? 100? 500? You have to be realistic about how many you can actually manage. It's estimated that 62 per cent of emails are unimportant, so find joy in sending them straight to trash, or just let them sit there if that's your thing!

'The day I realised that I would never read them all, that I would never file them all, was the most freeing day ever,' says Ruth.

For more excellent life admin hacks, listen to the full episode below and subscribe in iTunes.  

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