With folks stuck at home due to COVID-19, they are communicating more than ever via email. Here are some tips to help you keep the additional volume organized!
Who hasn’t experienced frustration trying to organizing their inbox? I receive close to 400 email each day due to the variety of activities and contacts I have online.
Some I am truly interested in – some I am not.
A big part of keeping your inbox and your email organized is discipline. Yep, good ole’ fashioned discipline!
You need to have a system that you consistently put into practice. Upon checking your email there are several tasks you can put into place to keep ahead of the increased traffic of bits and bytes finding their way to your inbox.
Let’s get organized!
Put Your DELETE Button to Work
If you do not recognize the sender, look at the SUBJECT: field. Are there funny characters, alpha-numeric gibberish or it just doesn’t make sense? Delete!
Don’t fall for tricky SUBJECT: fields that say any number of enticing comments only someone you know would or do business with would say.
For the emails that are left…
You are now ready to determine what to do with the email that remain.
- Are several email from the same person?
- Is there email from companies who email you quite regularly?
- Do you have some email that is personal business and others that are more serious and therefore, you probably need to keep a copy on hand?
This is where filters come into play. Filters (called rules in Outlook) are a way for you to designate based on certain criteria what your email program will do with those emails on the download.
Say you get a bunch of emails from your best friend. Create a filter based on their email address and on the download emails goes right into your BFF folder.
Get eBills from companies you do business with? You can then send those emails right to your “Need to Pay” folder. Based on company name or email address. You get the idea.
Another use for your filters?
As if filters are not already sounding like the best thing since sliced bread, you can use them to send certain email right to the trash bypassing your inbox all together. You know, the emails for certain enhancement products and adult topics – right to your spam/junk/trash folder.
Put filters in place to find certain adult or offensive terms that display in the SUBJECT: or BODY of an email message. This will then send them right to trash on the download.
Back to your inbox…
We now have filters in place that organize your email on the download. Now all the email you requested and or are expecting, is in their appropriate folders for you to read at your convenience.
Your inbox should only have the orphan email with nowhere to go.
Read and Delete
Read your email as time permits. The sooner the better so that you don’t create a backlog. Then delete any email that doesn’t have content worth keeping for future reference and empty your trash daily.
Loads of email files use a ton of your system resources. Not keeping copies of email you really will never need in the future helps remove the clutter and drain on system resources.
Prioritize Your Email
You can prioritize your email based on topic or when you want to address them. Many email programs allow you to label emails by color that are still in your inbox or when viewing a particular folder.
For example you could have labels that at a glance tell you how you have prioritized your tasks. Say, red for urgent, blue for later, yellow for maybe.
By opening that specific email box you know, at a glance, which email you have set to address right away and which you can get to as time permits.
Empty Your Trash Daily
However, before emptying your trash, you want to be sure to take a quick look-see. This is just in case any of your filters inadvertently picked up on some terms that were included in email that you possibly didn’t want to trash.
This happens all the time. A quick once-over before deleting your trash will make sure legitimate email you do want to read doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Create a General Folder
Call it Follow-Up, Interesting or To Do. This is where you will file some of the email from your inbox that peaked your interest that you would like to review in more detail but just don’t have the time. Then, when time permits you can go to that folder and check into the emails worth keeping. Once you review them, though, either send them to another folder for keeps or send them to trash.
Avoid Email Accumulation
Be sure your inbox is cleared each day. Move email to trash, a specific folder or your “To Do” folder, and then empty the trash.
If email is older than 90 days in your “To Do” folder – send them off to trash. The information or offer is most likely no longer current. By doing so each day, you keep your inbox clear and your email much more organized.
What about all these folders?
Have as many folders as you need to be organized and call them whatever will intuitively work for you with a glance. This system is different and unique to each and every user. Make sure you use terms and a system that works for you.
Clear and Clutter Free
The above tips when practiced daily will make the world of difference in keeping your inbox organized and clutter free. Just a bit of discipline is all it takes to be on the road to less time spent dealing with email.
Which frees you up to do other important things… like responding to email.
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