Email is a wonderful thing. I can fondly remember that, in the past, if I wanted to send someone a letter, I had to use paper, envelope, and a stamp. Then of course was the waiting time to hear a reply. With email, we can send in an instant, and get responses equally as fast.
However, email, can get out of hand by filling up your inbox fast. When that happens, email ceases to be a “wonderful thing”, and turns into a nightmare. Fortunately, there are some practices you can put into place today to conquer your inbox, and make your email activity more efficient and organized.
Tackling Your Inbox
If you open your email program, and see that you have an endless number of items in your inbox, you need to deal with that. We will be referring to Microsoft’s Outlook for the purposes of this article. First of all, if you let emails build up in your inbox to where you have several hundred, or even thousands of emails, how are you going to find anything? Now some may say they will use the search feature, but when you use keywords, you are still going to have to drill down through a massive list of messages to find what you are looking for.
Consider creating folders in your email program. In Outlook, you can simply right click on your Inbox, and then click “New Folder”. Give them descriptive names like, “Travel Documents”, “Bills”, or “Online Shopping.” Now go through your Inbox and drag and drop those items to your newly created folders. Now when you are needing something that is of a particular subject, you can jump straight to that folder and search from there, thereby narrowing your search field.
Lay Down Some Rules
Just about everything in life abides by rules, and your email program is no different. Rules can be setup to make messages take a certain action. For example, lets say you have a folder called, “Jim”, and you would like to automatically have emails that come from Jim go straight to that folder. You can create a rule by right clicking on any email from Jim, goto “Rules”, then goto “Always move messages from Jim..” You will be presented with a list of folders. Select the folder you want it to go, and then click “OK”. You may get a prompt to take that action on currently messages in the Inbox. Check that box and hit “OK” and you are done!
There are also other actions you can take in the Rules section. You can go to the top toolbar, and click on “Rules” and then “Create Rule”. From there you can make messages display popup alerts, get special notifications on invitations, or create a rule to have emails from someone who annoys you auto-delete. Bottom line is, laying down some rules in Outlook will go a long way to restoring order.
Learn To Let Go
When it comes to email management, the inevitable situation comes up of someone who never deletes email. When I say never, I mean, NEVER! At the beginning of this article I made mention of an inbox full of hundreds, or thousands of messages. Many of which are not even read yet, so if this is you, read on.
If you look at your inbox and see 1000 unread emails, it is time to delete those emails. Now you may say, “Well I was going to read them later.” When you get to that many unread emails, be honest, you are never going to get around to reading them. Start with the oldest messages and start deleting away. You can hold down the CTRL key while you click your messages to pick and choose. If you have a bunch you need to delete in succession, select the first message, hold down the SHIFT key, and then click the last message you want to delete. You have now highlighted all of that selection, now just click DELETE. Once you have deleted all of the ones you want to get rid of, be sure to empty the Deleted Items folder. Things should be looking a lot more better at this point.
Get Rid Of Junk Mail/Spam
Do you get a lot of junk email? Like a lot of it? Chances are you put your email address in on some website and now ti’s been sold half a dozen times over. Thus, you are getting spammed. There are a couple of ways to deal with this, and by doing so, you will cut down greatly the amount of junk email you are receiving.
First, consider unsubscribing from the email list in question. By law, all advertising emails should have an unsubscribe link, usually at the very bottom of the email. When you click on that, you usually will be taken to that company’s website, and you will see options to unsubscribe. Be very careful with this option though. Some spammers will put an unsubscribe link for you to click on, only for that to subscribe you to more spam. Therefore, there is another option.
Another way to handle junk emails is to block them from ever coming in. You can right click on a junk mail message, and then select “Block Sender”. When you do this, it will go straight to the Junk Mail folder. Another thing you can do is create a rule to delete it automatically, especially if it is a problematic sender that just will not seem to go away. Also, when you are in Junk Email options, you can block emails from certain countries from coming in.
Email management is not as hard as one might think. Having a more organized email program not only will make things easier to find, but can also speed up the running of your email program. So if your Outlook is a mess, you have the tools today to get it in order.