What Steps Should Traders Take to Manage Their Email Inbox

Computers make it easy to multitask, or do a lot of things at once. That’s great, but the human brain can really only pay attention to one thing at a time. Lack of focus can hurt your trading. As a trader, your ability to focus is your number one skill. Being distracted by Facebook, CNBC, or even email can seriously hurt your ability to trade.

If you find that you are spending too much time dealing with your inbox, you are not alone.

Studies reveal that we waste an average of 13 hours a week just responding to emails.

In 2010 over 90 Trillion emails were sent and received to over 1.9 Billion email users and 90% of those messages were spam.

Today’s numbers are almost incalculable, but one thing is for sure – we are wasting way too much of our focus on cutting through all that noise. 

How You Can Sift Through the Junk

Use an email client that enforces spam lists to automatically remove known junk and spam messages before they end up in your inbox.

Set up filters to redirect messages to sub-folders based on the sender or contents of the message.

This will enable you to design your responses more efficiently. Many email clients also allow you to create filter to auto-prioritize messages based on their contents.

Answer emails as soon as you receive them instead of waiting until the next day or simply set aside some time twice a day to craft your replies.

If the email has to sit overnight it will likely get lost in the barrage of emails received by morning.

Email Inbox Full

What Tips and Tricks You Should Use to Stay Ahead

  • Reply to all emails within 24 hours of receiving them It is not only the professional and courteous thing to do, but it will also allow you to stay ahead of the clutter.
  • Use pre-crafted responsesIf you receive emails asking the same questions or related to the same topics, you will already have a template to work from. This will shorten the amount of time spent composing emails related to the same topic.
  • Use an automated signature lineInstead of having to retype your name, title, and contact information each time you reply to an email, this tactic will save you even more time.
  • Think before you reply“Is this email really necessary?” Sometimes it is better to just delete the message or call the person on the phone. Anything you type today can come back tomorrow to haunt you.
  • Use the email subject line as an organization toolIf you are initiating the email communication, ensure the subject line is on topic and will not accidentally trigger a spam filter. When the receiver replies the subject line can also help you sort the messages priority.
  • Use a throw-away email address for online shoppingServices like Google and Yahoo mail allow you to create as many temporary email addresses as you could ever require and are perfect for easy disposal once they begin to attract junk mail and spam.
  • Change your email subscriptions if you are over subscribedMany list-servers have a weekly recap which will cut down on daily updates and opt out of those lists you no longer follow. Delete messages once you have read them. If you intend to keep messages for later reference, move them out of the inbox and in to a subfolder to keep your inbox organized.
  • Keep your personal and business email separateUse your personal email for personal contacts and your business email for business contacts. This will eliminate the distractions you may encounter when trying to focus on work, or vise versa.