4 Steps to Managing Your Email

I hear from people a lot that their email overwhelms them, or that they have ‘x’ thousand emails in their inbox, or that they can’t keep up with their email. This is a problem for everyone today but really doesn’t need to be. As well as being overwhelmed with sheer volume of emails, what most people are saying is that their email is psychologically taking over their day…and that’s the biggest problem of all.

How often do you find yourself checking your email? How often do you find yourself thinking about checking your email? If either of these answers are more then a few times an hour then you have a problem that you need to begin to address. Here are some simple tips to help begin to manage your email.

First, schedule email time.  Put time aside for email in the morning and again in the afternoon.  Take care of all email during those windows and do not check it throughout the day.  Now this might be hard to do for some folks so get there in steps.  Start by checking email for a few minutes no more than once an hour.  Then move to twice in the morning, afternoon and evening.  I know this is tough but set a schedule and stick to it.

Clean out spam.  Unfortunately, spam is a problem for a lot of people, especially if you shop online.  You can easily become overwhelmed with spam on a regular basis.  I recommend you deal with spam as soon as it arrives.  Scroll to the bottom of the email, find the ‘unsubscribe’ link and click it.  Right away.  Don’t wait.  Then delete the email.  See the section below for more information on reporting problem spam.

Deal with email immediately (during your scheduled time of course).  As with any organizational task, scan your inbox for the simple things first, unsubscribe to spam and delete or find the emails that don’t require a response and file them.  Get the unimportant stuff out of the way first.  Then read and respond to emails that require it.  Don’t put it off to tomorrow because tomorrow your inbox will fill up again.

Organize your inbox with folders and categories.  Delete as much email as possible, but there will redoubtably be email you want to keep.  Organized folders and file read emails or emails you want to hold onto into those folders.  Get them out of your inbox and keep it as clear as possible.

These are simple steps but are difficult for some.  if you work hard at them you will feel like a weight has been taken off you and your productivity will increase.  Good luck!



Forward unwanted or deceptive messages to:

  • the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov. Be sure to include the complete spam email.
  • your email provider. At the top of the message, state that you’re complaining about being spammed. Some email services have buttons that allow you to mark messages as junk mail or report them spam.
  • the sender’s email provider, if you can tell who it is. Most web mail providers and ISPs want to cut off spammers who abuse their system. Again, make sure to include the entire spam email and say that you’re complaining about spam.

If you try to unsubscribe from an email list and your request is not honored, file a complaint with the FTC.

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