Ten Tips for Managing your Email Inbox

It is amazing how quickly your inbox can become glutted with emails.  Staying on top of your inbox can be a very daunting task, but with a few tools and an effective system, you can stay organized and in charge of your inbox.  Here are a few things you can do to keep your emails under control.

1.       Save Attachments to Your Emails

To save space in your inbox, you can save email attachments to a folder or to your desktop.  This will help clear out space in your inbox, and help you organize and store the documents you need.

2.        Regularly Empty Your Sent Items and Deleted Items Folders

This will also help you in saving storage space if you only have a limited amount of room in your mail server.

3.        Unsubscribe from Newsletters and Notifications

If you do not read the newsletter or notifications that you are subscribed to, there is usually an unsubscribe button in the email that you can click on to discontinue the service.   If it is not useful to you, remove yourself from the mailing list.  It will save you having to sort through your inbox for the messages you really want to read.

4.        Do Not Reply to Spam

Most email servers have automatic Spam filters in place already.  If spam makes it to your inbox, delete it right away.  Most of the time, there will even be an option to “mark this message as spam.”  By doing so, you can prevent your inbox from being glutted with unwanted messages.  If you opened spam without realizing what it would be, do not respond to it.  Simply delete it or mark it as such.

5.        Save Old Emails to a CD or Thumb Drive

Hesistant to delete old emails in case you need them again?  Move them to a folder and save it on an external device, or simply to your desktop or hard drive.  This will allow you to keep what you need without having to visually sort through them while checking for new email.

6.        Set Priorities

Want to make sure you don’t miss an email from your boss or your best friend?  You can create rules to set certain email addresses as high priority, so that they are highlighted in your inbox as they come in.

7.        Keep it Simple

Many times people over complicate their e-mail by creating dozens of different folders to help organize their e-mails. Find a simple folder system that works for you deepending on your needs.  If there is no way of getting around your need for folders in e-mail, use the rules to automatically filter your messages into the folders. This saves hundreds of hours you may be spending thinking about and organizing each of the e-mails you receive.

8.       Answer Emails As You Read Them

Many people make the mistake of reading all of their emails at once, and then going back and replying to them, or flagging them to be replied to later.  By addressing each email as you read it, you can prevent yourself from forgetting to reply to important messages.  If you do not have time to respond, flag or star the email so that it stands out from the rest.   Once you’ve responded, you can delete or archive the message as appropriate.

9.      Don’t Use Your Email As a To-Do List

Often times, a person’s inbox is full because they are using it as a calendar or to-do list. Do not use your e-mail for this as it will needlessly cause things to pile up. Have a separate program or text document that keeps a list of things you need to do or that keep track of your calendar of events.

10.   Set a Schedule for Managing Your Inbox, and Delete Away

Depending on your workload and what your inbox looks like, decide how often you should prune your email.  This might be once a week or once a day, but staying on top of your email will prevent you from getting bogged down.  Once you have a system of folders and filters in place, email maintenance should only take a matter of minutes.

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