When you get to the office, you open your email, and that dreaded number next to inbox has grown by another ten-fold.  Getting that number to zero seems like an impossible feat, and who knows what messages that urgently need your attention are not getting noticed in time.

According to an Adobe Campaign survey, close to 5.4 hours of each workday is spent sifting and checking email by white-collar workers.  In fact, people ages 18 to 34 check email while eating with friends, during workouts, or even while driving, more so than any other age demographic.

Email was supposed to make things faster, not inundate us with a seemingly endless inbox of messages and spam.  Email doesn't have to be this convoluted.  Email in one sense, sets up the agenda for the day, and that's not an accurate or efficient way to sort tasks according to Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics of Duke University.

Luckily we're here to help, by giving you recommendations for getting that inbox number back to Zero, and helping you save hours of time each day to enhance productivity.

Thinking of Email like Regular Mail

Hayden Field of Entrepreneur.com  says you should think of Email in the same way you think of Snail Mail.  Imagine receiving one piece of snail ail every few minutes and opening each letter immediately.  That's pretty inefficient.  The way mail regularly works, people get a batch a day, meaning they check it once and make decisions right away about what to keep, and what to throw away.

Peter Bregman of 18 minutes states "We don't do email that way.  We do it as if the mailman's just sitting there and taps you on the shoulder every minute and rings a bell in your ear."

You can likely imagine how much of a time waste it can be if you open a single piece of mail, reading it, closing it, returning it to the postman and asking him to "Give it back in a little while."  That's essentially what we're doing when we read and email on the go without time to respond, according to Bregman.

Sticking to scheduled email Sessions

The first step in changing your email strategy is to stop checking in real-time.  Commit to opening your inbox no more than a few times each day.  Checking your email should be a task that garners your full attention.

First you should clean up your by deleting whatever you can, says Joseph R. Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University.  Answer whatever you can immediately, file messages you need to keep in corresponding inbox folders, then close your inbox until the next time you can look at and focus on your email again.

Notifications are also found to be less useful then we may have initially thought.  It is recommended you turn off new message alerts, and icons badges on your phone  That way, you aren't constantly tempted to check your email when you can't give it your complete undivided attention.

Make Use of Email Filters

Many email clients, including a number of web based email applications allow users to create custom folders, and even automatically filter email into these folders  Setting up a set of folders and filtering email into them by order of importance and necessary response time can really make serve to clean up your inbox.  Creating an urgent folder for email that needs to be answered right away for example, and a daily folder which can keep email that's less important is a great way of organizing your inbox.

This helps save time and energy since you can direct your attention to messages according to urgency.

Killing the Chain

Email chains can become frustrating to deal with, especially if they get unnecessarily long.  Bregman says you should respond to an email thinking about how you can do so without having to create seven more emails for 25 other people.

This may mean picking up the phone and calling someone, instead of going back and fourth multiple times simply to schedule a meeting.  It may mean taking recipients off a thread, or it could be ending the conversation once all goals are satisfied.  Be intentional with your messages, be clear with your intentions (sarcasm rarely goes over well in email form), and prevent the unnecessary back and forth.

Keeping these basic steps in mind should help clean that inbox up, and make you the master of your email once again.  And for more ideas and information about all things tech, we ask you to check out our blog for more cool insights.