The first time I created an email account, I subscribed for newsletters, turned notifications on all the accounts I created in the net and was happy to spend time reading the emails I received, still the number of emails were manageable. Fast forward to now, emails have grown to be a necessary evil. Lots of people whom I meet are finding it difficult to handle the volume of emails they receive. Since it is easy to create digital copies and apparently costs nothing to include another person in the email for Just FYI, people are given an information overload through emails. It is not uncommon to hear people saying they have 10,ooo+ unread emails in their mailbox.
Here are some simple rules I created so that my Inbox shows ‘Inbox (0)’ at regular intervals. It also helps me to quickly act on only the important emails when I check through my phone.
Newsletter subscriptions – Most of the sites where we use our email id, will by default have the newsletter option checked, we should make sure to uncheck it before creating new accounts. In case we accidentally subscribe to one it will still carry an unsubscribe link. Some email systems do not unsubscribe well, ruthlessly mark them as spam. It is our inbox and we have every right to deny entry to it.
Forums – These have to be filtered into a bulk folder like ‘forum/abc’, ‘forum/xyz’ depending on the no of forums and frequently read ones.
Notifications – Twitter, facebook, linkedin and many other accounts have email notifications, if we have the habit of using those accounts directly and frequently then we do not need the email notifications to be turned on.
Projects and distribution list – We will be part of the distribution lists of projects and business units, filter those into appropriate ones like the ones created for forums.
Finance – Create a filter for all financial transactions like payslips, transaction advices, statements. It should be a one stop folder to view the mails for all the transactions.
CC – The mails which we are CCed are an FYI which do not need any action, people also have a tendency to just add another person to CC; which we can read the subject line later and choose to read or drop.
Bookmarking – Time to time we get interesting links and forwards, instead of leaving them in the inbox to read later use a site that is helpful for bookmarking so that you can read them later.
With the above filter we can drastically reduce the number of emails that arrive at the inbox and we will be able to manage the lesser number of emails. The filters should be such that only the mails which are addressed to us in the ‘To’ field should be delivered in the inbox. Spend time at a manageable frequency to glance through the filters to triage them. Maintenance of the inbox is not an one time act, it is an ongoing activity
“Image courtesy of Patchareeya99 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.