Overwhelmed by Your Email?

Overwhelmed by Your Email?

Are you overwhelmed by your email inbox? Do you have thousands of emails and don’t know what to do? Are you wasting time searching in your email inbox on a daily basis? Get unstuck and start tackling your inbox. I use Outlook for my business email. While most emails come straight into my inbox, Outlook tries to help me by identifying some emails as “junk” and “clutter”.

Junk is usually those types of emails that are from someone that wants to give you several million dollars if only you would contact them right away. I am happy that Outlook puts emails there, but I still have to go into the folder and delete all the junk. This is easy and fun because it is just deleting and emptying the trash. It is something I do at least once a week.

Clutter is a little bit trickier. Outlook is pretty good about recognizing email from retail stores and other vendors trying to sell me something, but sometimes there is an email that I am really interested in. I go into this folder at least once a week and delete emails I am not interested in. “Unsubscribe” from most of the retail groups email lists and you will see a significant decrease in the amount of clutter you get on a daily basis.

Next I set up a few folders for the really important stuff. I don’t want a huge inbox to look through if I am searching for an email from one of my organizing groups so I set up a folder for Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) and one for National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). Now I can move emails I need to keep into one of these more specific folders. Be careful not to set up too many extra folders. Some clients want to put emails into folders that are just labeled by year. Some clients want them set up by stuff coming from the boss and emails coming from others. Set up your folders the way you think about your emails but don’t get carried away. Fewer folders are better.

There are more sophisticated filters and rules that can be set up to further sort emails, but that is another whole step.

So to help you today to become more productive with your email:

  1. Unsubscribe from as many email lists as you can.
  2. Delete items from “Junk” and “Clutter” files at least once a week.
  3. Set up a few folders to hold specific types of emails.