Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How to Contain Email Clutter

Email can control you if you let it. For me, the more messages I have in my inbox the more stressed out I get. As a professional organizer I get calls in and out of Houston asking to help contain email clutter. Here are some of my tips:

Archive. The quickest and easiest way to get rid of things out of your inbox is to archive the emails you don't need. Then go through it later. I try to advise clients to take the time to do the things that they need to do immediately.

Search and delete. If you know your inbox is full of emails from certain businesses or people that you know you don't need. Search the name in the inbox and then select all and delete. For example do you really need all of those old William Sonoma emails? No, probably not.

Create folders. The more folders you have, the more overwhelming it can get especially for people with ADHD and creative folks. Creating some folders is helpful most of the time.

Set limits. Know how many unread emails you want to have and try to stick to that amount.  Stick to an amount of time where you check email maybe 3x a day for 30 minutes each time.

Unsubscribe from all unnecessary emails. We all receive emails from companies that we don't need. Use or hit unsubscribe at the bottom email or ask to be taken off of their list.

Check email at certain times of the day. If you set specific times that you check your email it will not feel so overwhelming where you are constantly taking time to check it.

Create filters / rules. You can create certain filters and rules where certain emails go to specific folders, flag emails, etc.

Pick up the phone. If you know you will keep going back and forth with someone about something that is not important and doesn't need an email trail, just pick up the phone and call them.

Color code. Color code emails to make it visually appealing and be able to locate certain emails quicker.

Quick responses. Be concise and to the point. You can set days and times that are actionable when responding or just say "no response needed or no reply needed". That way you cut down on the back and forth.

Use autoresponder. Use the autoresponder to let people know when you will be replying back or checking email. That way they don't expect an immediate response back.

Choose when emails appear. There are services like Boomerang where you can draft an email and they will send it on a certain day and time. Or you can set it to reappear in your inbox at a later time, so it is not just lingering in your inbox.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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