28 November 2012

Simplify Dealing With Mountains of Email

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Monday night I realized I had to face the mountain of emails that has accumulated into my email inbox. The longer I worked the more I realized I needed to find a more effective approach to handle the 2200 read emails I had allowed to stay beyond their welcome.

So I thought I would share a few lessons I learned -- hopefully writing this post will help me remember these tips next time too. Fingers crossed I do a little bit better keeping up and acting on the emails in the beginning rather than waiting to clean my inbox when it has become overwhelming.

1. To simplify clean up, temporarily arrange your emails by who they are FROM. Then go through quickly and delete in large groups the advertisements, old newsletters, etc. you get on an almost daily basis. I was amazed that I had pages of old newsletters and sale notices from businesses I subscribe to.

2. In the from mode, when most emails on a page should be deleted, use the "select all" button. Then go through and deselect (remove checks in the boxes next to) the few you want to keep. Then hit delete. Having to go down an entire page and click almost every box next to an email is a big waste of time when you are deleting most of the emails on a page. It's easier to deselect a few if you know you'll dump the majority.

3. Unsubscribe from any automated email subscriptions you have that are no longer meaningful to you. Also take the time to block those you were added to without your permission. Some years ago I somehow got added to the MTV networks email system. We're talking many networks with multiple marketing platforms. To this day I am still getting emails from even more MTV networks and I continually have to block & unsubscribe. Sometimes it takes some effort and time to extricate oneself from a marketing list that becomes many marketing lists.

4. Create easy to use folders. Having a folder for family, friends, church, travel, online purchases and other basics makes it easy to drop all those emails I want to keep in one easy to find place.

5. Once you have taken action on an email, move it out of your inbox into a folder. A tidy inbox keeps life feeling clean and simple. A full inbox is a lot of "electronic noise" you just don't need screaming at you each time you sign on. Keep it clean and simple.

So those are my quick tips to help make cleaning out the email inbox less overwhelming. Hopefully you don't need these tips because your inbox is tidy and clean. But for those days when it starts to feel unmanageable, hopefully these tips will help you wrangle things quickly.

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