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Manage your email better

If you’re like most people, you probably find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of email you get, especially at work.  Is your Inbox full of emails?  Have you lost track of what you’ve answered, what needs answering, or what you don’t even have to answer?  If so, then these tips will help you get on top of your email problem, and allow you to manage it better.

  1. Filter your emails.  A lot.  Filter everything except what’s sent directly to you.  Filter company emails, mailing list emails, and all emails that are CC’d to you.  Set up automatic filters so that they go into their own folders. This helps avoid Inbox clutter, and you can choose to read them whenever you want.  The ones that are sent directly to you are the ones that stay in your Inbox.
  2. Filter specific senders out of the inbox.  If you have those people who send you emails regardless of how relevant it is for you, then filter them into a special folder, even if it’s into the Deleted Items (Trash) folder.
  3. Schedule time to review the folders.  Ask yourself a simple question – if you don’t read the email in X hours, can you still do your work?  If you can, then schedule yourself so that you review your folders in max X hours.  With those emails that you are CC’d, and memos, you’re being informed and don’t have to reply to the sender.  Read them in your own time.
  4. Read emails as a thread.  Usually, if an email has multiple TO: and CC: recipients, it will likely attract a number of replies.  When you read them as a thread, you can get the information from the conversation at once, rather than from multiple emails.
  5. Don’t answer every email, especially if you’re CC’d.  If you’re being CC’d, then you’re only being informed.  Replying is not necessary.  Answer only the emails that require a reply from you.
  6. If you can’t reply immediately, move it to a Reply folder.  If you need to reply to an email but can’t do it straight away, move it to a Reply folder, and make sure you go through it at the end of every day to clear it out.  This is more efficient than trying looking in your Inbox and trying to remember what needs replying to and what doesn’t.  When replied, move it to the appropriate storage folder.
  7. If you cannot read the email immediately, move it to a Read folder.  Do this when you start reading an email and decide you should read it later.  Move it to the Read folder so that you remember to read it.  When finished, reply to it, move it to the Reply folder to reply later, or move it to the appropriate storage folder.

I hope these tips help you keep your Inbox uncluttered and manageable.  When you’re not overwhelmed and stressed by your email, you’re going to enjoy what you’re doing a lot more. And you’ll have more time for all the important things you need to focus on.

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