Organizing Emails

Ah the infamous email account.  A constantly a growing pile or group of emails all wanting your attention.  What can you do to better manage and deal with your email?  Well, a lot like papers, take care of it and store it or get rid of it!  Let’s take a look at some tips for dealing with emails.

First and foremost, make folders.  To start it’s ok to be somewhat general (recipes, family stuff, friends, bills, to do etc).  But eventually, the more specific you can get, the easier it will be to find things (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, drink folders for recipes)

Since just about everyone checks their email daily, file your email daily.  While you’re reading them, if you don’t have to do anything with them immediately (or in the next 2-7 days), file it in an appropriate folder.  I do this with a lot of emails I may want to use with recipes or with inspirational quotes or thoughts.

Once you’ve gotten your folders set up and decided to file your email daily, you may want to have your email program help you with some of the filing.  In most email programs there are filters that will sort your emails into the folders.  Be careful setting up keywords that you know will pre-sort only the mail you want in the folder, or at least get it right 98% of the time.  I only use this to have my seminar reminders and confirmations, as well as Twitter emails, not sent to my inbox, because I don’t need to give them attention every day and don’t need them cluttering up my inbox.

It’s pretty widely suggested that you check your email only 3 or so times  per day.  I typically read through all the emails I have in the morning, check for important things typically around 2 and 5 (I typically will read no more than 5 emails at either of those times), and then sometime at night I will read through the emails I’ve gotten since I read through them all in the morning.  If I’m expecting something, I’ll check more frequently (max once an hour), or make sure it’s being sent to the email that is connected to my phone.

I know it’s great having all this technology, and I do love being able to get my email on my phone.  However.  I have 4 email addresses and rather than them all come to my phone, I’ve only got one.  The others do have important information that I receive each day, but I don’t want to be notified every time I receive a newsletter or news bite.  You can also change whether you’re notified each time you get an email on your phone or not.

Two final thoughts.  Do try to keep it to less than 1 page of  emails in your inbox.  Typically that’s between 25 and 50 emails.  It’s not always easy, but try.  And finally, inevitably you’ll have to clean out your inbox.  I get around to it every 3 months or so.  If you keep on top of filing and addressing emails each day, it won’t take long to do that clean out.

Share your thoughts, challenges and ideas below!

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