Most people rely on email for their day to day business and personal communication – so much so that your mailboxes are most likely overflowing. Here are a few tips I have practiced over the last few years to keep my email under control.
- Make a judgement call with each email message you receive. If it will be beneficial in the future to view, keep it, if not, get rid of it on the spot. You will be amazed at how many message you have like this – and cluttered they make your mailboxes. Toss out the “Thanks”, “Got It”, “x is Out of the Office” and any other one liner responses as soon as you get them.
- Separate your personal email from your business email. I recommend using two separate email accounts to keep it simple. This way you separate your personal life from your business life and instantly know that Susan’s famous apple pie recipe must be in your personal email. This way – you also benefit by not having to read any office email when you are at home relaxing…and trying to catch up with friends. (think church and state)
- Organize your mail with mailboxes. If you get a lot of mail – use multiple mailboxes to separate clients’ work, newsletters, listservs, etc so you can easily use your judgement by looking at unread counts on certain mailboxes without having to sift through a long list of unread messages in an inbox.
- Archive old mail. As a rule of thumb, I archive my mail by year. By archiving your email, your common email mailboxes (inbox, sent messages, etc) will less likely become too unruly.
Just like most things in life, a little effort goes a long way. By keeping your email mailboxes tidy you are more likely to find what you need, and to work more efficiently.