Let’s face it, an inbox of 75 unread emails in the morning is not fun for anyone. Besides unsubscribing from spam email, how can you control the influx of emails you receive? Follow these ground rules and your inbox will become leaner and easier to maintain.

Use Chat Instead

Many emails can be sent as a chat message instead. It keeps your inbox clean, and it is a more direct way to relay information.  They also usually give you a way to download the conversation if need be, so you’ll still have a record of what was said.Running late to a meeting? Send your manager a chat message instead of clogging up their inbox.

Reply at the End of the Day

Inc.com suggests that if it works for your schedule, read–and read only–your email earlier in the day, handling anything urgent by phone or in person. Then reply to what’s left in the evening if you can. This way, you avoid playing email tag and “inbox growback”, as it’s not as likely people will respond until the next day. You also have a better chance to really think about your response so that it’s concise and clear, both of which encourage fewer additional replies to you.

Open Your Door

Sometimes employees will email their boss or colleague because they fear approaching them.  Take a long, hard, honest look at how others interact with you. Do not be afraid to ask for feedback. Make sure both your behavior as well as your words convey openness, and have a time of day designated for people to come talk to you with needs and concerns.

State Your Email Policy

Inc also suggests stating your email policy. Put your policy regarding emails as a footer in your email signature. If people keep emailing you unnecessarily or wonder why you don’t reply, you can politely inform them that your policy is clearly indicated at the bottom of every email you send. This is extremely helpful during out of the office times. If you set your response to say something like, “I will respond to emails in the order they were received,” people will understand your process.

Is your inbox causing your stress? There are strategies for getting your email under control. Use the chat app on your email instead of sending an email. Set aside time at the end of the day to reply to all of your emails at once. Keep your door open and state your email policy. All of these strategies will help to keep your email under control.