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| Home Office & Home Office The Organized Computer 6 Ideas for Conquering Email Clutter
Computer6 Ideas for Conquering Email Clutter
Email can boost efficiency and communications. And it can sap our time. Create a strategy to effectively move through your email - and even eliminate the email you don't want - so you can stay focused on what's important.
Email has been beneficial to us all in many ways. It's a wonderfully quick way of delivering a message. It helps us to
answer on our own time--no telephone tag, or waiting on hold. Plus, it's extremely cost effective. You can basically send
email to friends and family worldwide, and pay nothing more than a monthly fee.
However, there is a price to pay. Just like paper clutter, email could easily turn into virtual clutter. Now, in addition to having a mountain of paper, many people have an enormous amount of email to plow through each day. Here are a few simple tips to help keep it under control.
1. Check and manage email on a daily basis. Schedule one or two consistent time periods each day to go through your email inbox. Get rid of as much email as you can each day. If possible, don't go to bed at night before clearing out your email inbox.
2. Take action. Just as it's easy to paper shuffle, it's also simple to 'email shuffle.' Try to take action on each email you open.
First, skim the subject lines and immediately get rid of email that you don't need. A high percentage of email can be deleted without ever opening it.
Second, open each message one by one. If there are any that can be answered immediately, do so. Usually, the message can then be deleted. Be brutal here. Again, most messages do not need to be kept after the action has been completed.
If you 'truly' need to save a particular message, file it in a computer folder. A computer folder is simply an area in your email program where you can 'file' email messages into folders' so you don't have to print them out, but they're easily accessible when you need them.
Categorize these folders, just like you would with paper folders. For instance, if you like referring to some regular newsletters you get, make a computer folder for each of them. The name of each folder should be the name of the newsletter.
3. Take advantage of filters. Some email programs come with an option which allows you to filter your messages. Check with your email provider to determine if you have this option and how to take advantage of it. There are two common reasons that you might want to use your filtering capabilities.
a. Quickly storing emails you want to reference later: Let's say you get an email report every day from a co-worker that lists some numbers that you may need to reference, but you don't have to look at on a daily basis. You can filter email from that particular person directly into a computer folder. Then, when the person sends you the email report, it will automatically be moved into the folder you have set up.
b. Quickly getting rid of email you don't want: I recently was getting email messages, from a specific email address, that were unsolicited. After determining that it was impossible to get off this list, I decided to filter any email from that particular person right into my 'deleted mail' folder. Now, I never have to deal with it. Very often, you can filter by different variables, such as sender, subject line, messages with attachments, and so on.
4. Stories, jokes and email hoaxes. Stories, jokes and email hoaxes are constantly being forwarded throughout the Internet. Some people really enjoy receiving these types of messages. Others don't have the time for them. If you don't have the time to receive such email, tell the senders that you'd prefer not to receive them anymore. It's not being rude. Simply tell the person that you're happy to receive a personal note from them, but you don't have time for the other types of email.
5. Don't stay on lists that are not helping you. Be particular about the newsletter lists you sign up for and remain on. The lists you should be on are the ones that benefit you in some shape or form.
6. Print with caution. If you like printing a particular newsletter to read from your comfy chair in another room, that's fine. However, be careful about printing every single email you get. You don't want to double the problem by duplicating your email clutter into paper clutter. Remember, you can store email in folders on your computer. Yes, they'll take up some room on your computer, but at least they won't begin to clutter your home and your office too.