Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cleaning out my e-mail inbox clutter

 Last summer and before that I had troubles dealing with my e-mail inbox. Between my business, my homeschool group, various organizations I am involved with, blog readers, family and friends and spam - I had a lot of e-mails coming in. And for some reason I tended to find all of it a little overwhelming. It wasn't that way when I first started using e-mail but as time went on the quantity built up and I struggled to deal with it.

   It was something I was feeling a little guilty about (and I don't like that feeling!) because I felt bad about not getting back to people right away but yet I was feeling overwhelmed with the situation so I didn't know how to get on top of it. Looking back now those feelings seem rather silly but it was truly a problem for me.

  However I am happy to report for several months now (basically starting last August) I have gotten my e-mail inbox under control and hopefully I will never feel overwhelmed by it again!

  I read some advice in a book (that I can't remember the name of ) that really helped me.

 The advice was - When you find time to look at an e-mail - don't just look at it and leave it in your inbox (something I used to do all the time!)- do something about it! His basic rules where: If the e-mail will take less than two minutes to deal with- do it right now! It is surprising how many fall in this category. I have also been forcing to make decisions more quickly about whether the e-mail really is anything that I am in interested in or not - and if it isn't then it quickly gets deleted!

If I can't just quickly delete it or take care of it (answer it, or dot something else) within the two minutes then I put it in the appropriate file. It either goes in ACTION which is basically a file that holds e-mails that I do need to do something about and when I do have time (hopefully at least once a week) then I tackle the e-mails in the action file. I also have a waiting file which holds things like receipts from things that I ordered online and that I am waiting to arrive. I also have various files that hold archives of e-mails (that I may need or want to look back to at sometime) which are filed according to writer or topic).

   This method has helped me considerably in keeping my inbox cleaned out! I no longer feel overwhelmed and for that I am very grateful!

  Another thing that I have worked to do it to unsubscribe from many things that I am not interested it. I can't catch all the spam but I have been able to get rid of some of it.

  Do you have any tips or ideas for cleaning out or organizing your inbox?


Becky said...

Good morning Abbi,

This is definitely an area where I am unorganized! It really agravates me ~ especially when I need to find an old email for reference or important information. Unfortunately it's an area I've avoided because it feels completely overwhelming with over 4000 emails sitting there.

Your idea of an Action and Waiting file are great. I have set up files but mostly for homeschool items & groups. I'm going to challenge myself to spend 15 minutes this afternoon sorting through email, starting at the very oldest things in my inbox ... which I don't even want to admit in writing how old they are! ha ha

Blessings on your day!

angie said...

I strive to have fewer than 25 messages in my in-box, because that is how many fit on one screen. After they move to a second page, they are out of sight. out of mind for me. Once in a while, I will leave many spam unread. I ask my son to unsubscribe to all of the messages in bold (which means unread). It has been a learning journey for him to figure out how to navigate different websites.


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