How You Can Master Email Management

Does dealing with your email inbox feel like a full-time job? What began as a nice tidy inbox where you could see all the messages you need quickly spirals out of control. You’re overwhelmed with an email account that has become a catch-all for newsletters, spam, and unimportant notices. You’re lucky if you can find the really important messages sprinkled in…

Does this feel familiar? We have good news: Using a few email management strategies, you can return to your rightful place as the master of your inbox, without starting over.

So, let’s look at the five easiest strategies you can use to tame your inbox today!

  1. Reserve Your Inbox for Important Emails

Let’s face it, the majority of the emails you receive daily probably aren’t a high priority. They don’t require immediate action. You may even be saving them for another day… But once they pile up in your inbox they become a barrier to productivity and drain your time.

Instead of being able to easily find what you’re looking for, you start scrolling and it never seems to stop as you try to find that one important message. The easiest way to take control is to remove all but the most important messages from your inbox. Delete what you can. Move them to a file when you want to save something for later. But reduce your inbox to only those messages requiring immediate action on your part.

  1. Unsubscribe from Newsletters You Don’t Read

You signed up for a newsletter because you wanted a free download… But do you ever really read the newsletter? If you’re like most people, probably not. If you’re getting regular emails but not reading them, they aren’t helping you. They’re weighing down your ability to work!

So, here’s a good rule of thumb: If you haven’t read the last 2 or 3 newsletter editions, unsubscribe. You can always change your mind later and rejoin if you find it’s important later. However, if the publication is something you really don’t want to miss out on, move it out of your inbox and put it in a dedicated folder.

  1. Use Email Folders and Labels

We’ve already touched on this in the last two sections, but it’s worthy of its own spot: create labels or folders to organize your emails. Aside from the magical feeling that comes from clicking on an icon and seeing the related messages pop up with no distraction, we can’t stress enough how helpful this is for sorting through your messages.   

Whether you use different colored labels or specific folders, these tools make it easy to find what you’re looking for at a glance. There’s no limit to how many you can create. Your key to success with this technique is to be very clear when you name your labels and folder. You don’t want to have to go through this process again!

  1. Create and Use Auto-Set Filters for Your Inbox

By now you’re well on your way to sorting your email backlog. You have folders and labels, the basics of a good organization system… But what about new messages coming in? Is there any way to reduce the workload of sorting through them? Absolutely!

By creating auto-set filters for your inbox, you can train your email to pre-sort new messages. Have a newsletter you want to receive but don’t need to give immediate attention to? Tell your email to automatically put any messages from that address into a dedicated folder. You can often set your filters according to a variety of criteria: email address, title/headline, body text, etc. This strategy reduces your time spent sorting through messages.

4) Use Your Spare Minutes for Low-Attention Email Tasks

Even with the best filters, spam and sales promotional messages that will waste your time will still slip through. Spending your best working hours focused on sorting through them is, quite honestly, a waste.

But what about those few minutes here or there while you’re waiting for a coffee or your 2 o’clock meeting to show up? Maybe you’re bored during a commercial break. Those are the perfect times to do a low brainpower busy task.

When you find you have a few minutes to spare, open your inbox. Remember, you’re not looking to respond to anyone right now. Instead, use this time to do a quick tidy-up in your inbox. Spam messages? Flag them as spam. Lots of promotional emails? Select them all and delete them.  

You already know an out-of-control inbox is enough to make any sane person want to completely throw out their password and start a new account. These management strategies will help you retake control and make your email work for you again! We’re here to help give you back your time, energy, and life to focus on more important tasks.

Author Profile

Dan Dunn
Dan Dunn
Executive Managing editor

Editor and Admin at MarkMeets since Nov 2012. Columnist, reviewer and entertainment writer and oversees all of the section's news, features and interviews. During his career, he has written for numerous magazines.

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