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, 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.

Stay Up to Date

Get the Latest Updates

Alicia Lewis Murray BioABOUT ALICIA: Alicia is the founder of Balancing Last year, she managed to stay sane while completing an MBA, working full-time, blogging, and still baking amazing birthday cakes ā€” all while raising a young family at home.


  1. says

    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.

  2. Lisa N Sanford says

    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.

  3. says

    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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *