How To

Managing Email

873928_junk_mail_2.jpgLast week while people were still on holiday at the office I took the extra time to clean out my email in box. I had thousands of messages in both my work and personal email accounts. Now, I have only what is coming in daily. I have vowed to not let it get out of hand again. Here are some of the things that I am doing:

  • Make a delete or keep decision as I read the email. If keep, then put it in a folder.
  • Create a Delete on Sunday keeper folder. This folder is for emails that I can’t make a decision on. I’ll save it in the Delete on Sunday box. If I haven’t used it before Sunday, it automatically gets deleted.
  • Unsubscribe. I have a bad habit of subscribing to newsletters and receiving coupon emails from companies I frequent. I’ve found that I rarely read these emails and they just clutter my in-box. This year, I am unsubscribing to all except my favorites that I actually read every issue (which is probably none.)
  • Add recipient’s email addresses into my address book. Often I have saved emails in my in-box just so that I would have the sender’s email address on hand. Now, I will take a minute to add his/her address to my address book and delete the email.

According to an article on Suite101.com, there are two simple rules for email management:

RULE #1: Read the email once and file, flag, delete or reply.

RULE #2: Delete emails that do not contain important information.”

The Get It Done Guy says:

Scanning and Planning. This is the hard part. Schedule a time each day to process your inbox. Your commitment: totally and completely empty it. Here’s how: go through each message, read it quickly. Ask yourself, “What do I have to do to handle this message?” Write that down on your piece of paper. For example, Bernice sends a long e-mail about a family tragedy. Your to-do item is “Send Bernice a sympathy card regarding her unfortunate Spandex incident.”

How do you manage your in-box?

Photo courtesy stock.xchng.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Luis January 5, 2009, 1:40 pm

    I do probably all the things you mention. I only keep in the Inbox the emails that come in that day, it keeps me sane. Another tip is to use the To Do lists. I used to let emails sit in my email just because they were things I needed to deal with. This turns your inbox into a To Do list, but it shouldn’t be that. Now, I store it in a folder (I have many) and create a To Do.

  • Lisa N Sanford January 6, 2009, 12:03 am

    I find it is easiest to clean out my inbox when I sort by who the email is from. When confronted with 18 emails from the same person, it is pretty easy to delete all but one.

  • Alicia at BalancingMotherhood.com January 6, 2009, 11:42 am

    Great ideas Luis. Using folders is a great way to organize the inbox — just have to remember to go back into your folders!

    Lisa, You are so right about multiple emails from one person. When my inbox gets overloaded I often sort by person then purge most of them.

  • Dade March 16, 2009, 4:04 pm

    Nothing wrong with this, at all, people should get it more.

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