Avoid email clutterDo you feel overwhelmed by email clutter? Then it’s time to change your habits.Why? Because too many emails in your In-Box is discouraging and never ending. Change your email habits and you’ll be surprised at all the benefits.

3 “Big Picture” Steps when Opening Email Each Day

Step #1: Delete the spam and useless emails. There should be less and less of this the more you apply the tips below.

Step #2: Move “good stuff” to a folder titled “To Read Today.” (If it wasn’t good stuff, you wouldn’t allow it into your In-box, would you?)

Step #3: Respond to emails written to you. Emails to you from “Real People” are where you want to spend your time. Respond to the important and urgent right away and move on.

10 Email Tips to Deal Efficiently with Email

1. Read and Respond. Decide what to do the FIRST time you open an email. Do it now or it will double the time it takes to respond. The key is to pause and decide what action is needed.

2. Clear it Out. Once you've read and responded, move it out of your In-Box with “Delete or Archive.”  Archived ones are still there to search by key word. Gmail now has a “Send & Archive” button that does the work in one click.

3. Rely on the “Search” feature to pull up emails. Instead of creating an elaborate File Folder system, learn to search by the person’s name or email.

4. Tame Your "Reading" File. Keep the good blogs &newsletters in this file that pass your way. Read them mid afternoon or at the end of the day. Delete the file contents daily or weekly.

5. Don't "Over File" with too Many Specific Folders.  General folders like "Responded," Holding", or “Archive" are great for once you've responded. Move out emails prior to 3 months ago "Archive before (date)."

6. Create No More than 6-10 Key Email Folders.  Create no more than 6-10 folders by project, organization or action steps. It’s time-consuming to put them into any more folders than that. Rely on the “Search” feature to pull up emails.

7. Create "Rules" in Outlook or "Filters" in Gmail. This lets email bypass your In-Box and land in a folder you want to keep such as: the name of an organization, "Coupons" from Costco, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon, or "Personal" for interesting forwards.

8. Keep a "Follow-up" folder if needed. This is for emails you respond to but you need to know the other person did their part.  Check it at the end of the week to see if everything's taken care of or forward the email and ask if they got it.

9. Set times to do email and don't let it become your To Do list! Twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon are adequate.

10. Begin and end each day by getting your email down to your Target Number. A single digit or number under 20 email in your In-Box puts you in the driver's seat of your life.

“This article is by Marcia Ramsland, speaker and author of
Simplify Your Life, Simplify Your Time, Simplify Your Space,
and Simplify Your Holidays (Thomas Nelson).
Visit her website www.organizingpro.com for free organizing tips.


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