August 30, 2006

Dealing with emails can be a nightmare, especially when you have hundreds of unread emails which keep growing by the hour, and dozens of flagged messages which need following-up on. Here’s a few simple actions you can take to clear your inbox.

6. Mail Checking

Change your mail checking preference to 15 or 30 minute intervals. Do not stop work to answer emails as they arrive, instead set aside time each hour to briefly deal with your incoming emails.

5. Actionable Folders

Create 3 folders and name them Follow-Up, Interesting & To Do. Then, as you check your emails file them straight into the applicable folder.

Later, when you have time you can go straight to these folders folder and work through them. It will be much quicker to see what needs attending to and you are more likely to might be motivated to spare a few minutes clearing your to-do folder.

4. Sub Folders

Organization is the key to accessing any saved emails. Having 2000 emails in one folder is a sure-fire road map to confusion and lost information.

Create folders, then subfolders residing inside these. For example for this blog I have this folder structure set up in Mail:


Do this for each different project you are working on, and as you get a related email file it right away. If it needs to be followed up move it into that folder, then to it’s normal resting place once it’s been actioned.

3. Inbox Clearing

Keep your inbox clear, do not be tempted to use it as a storage box. Each evening before you log off the computer make sure there is nothing left in your inbox. Go through each and every email and file it. Place it in its respective folder, or if it requires action put it in your Follow-Up, Interesting or To Do folders.

This allows you to start the next day fresh and organized.

2. Delete Old Messages

Get that delete button working. Sit down for an hour (or however long it takes) and sort through every single email in Mail. Press Delete on anything you will never need again. After this long deleting session it should be a lot easier to keep on top of the size of your Mail database.

Searching will be faster, and finding files will be more efficient.

1. Smart Folders

Receiving hundreds of emails each day? Filters, otherwise known as “Smart Folders�?, are your answer.

Let’s say you run three blogs, create three smart folders with the rules:

This way you can keep different type of email in different places, and will have no confusion on what the email is related to.


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