Tactics to control your email inbox
- Print: When an important email hits my inbox, I print it immediately. This is a good safeguard if your email program crashes or you accidentally hit delete.
- Unsubscribe: Personally, I have a tendency to sign up for every interesting newsletter that I come across. This leads to an inbox full of newsletters that I don’t have time to read. I decided to take charge and unsubscribe from those that I don’t read regularly (see #3 below).
- Follow: If I’m not reading a newsletter but want to stay updated, I’ll just follow the business on twitter (most businesses post their latest newsletter on twitter).
- File: After a client project ends, I file away all related emails in client folders. I save them for a short period of time (just in case!) eventually deleting as necessary.
- Search & delete: An easy way to clean up the inbox is to do a keyword search for common emails (i.e. “Office Depot”) This way, you can delete all old emails from a sender in one fell swoop.
- Save: Many times I save an email because it contains a link to a useful website. I started deleting the emails and instead saving the links in Evernote, an app that allows you to create “notebooks” and save snippets such as web pages and images.
Oh, and another reason not to overload your email inbox is the possibility of losing your data. Last summer, my email application suddenly and inexplicably crashed. Thanks to a fairly recent backup, I only lost a month’s worth of email. But it would have been less problematic if I had been managing my email messages better, rather than letting them pile up.
Any more tips to add?