How can I manage my email inbox?

How can I manage my email inbox?


My inbox is always full. How can I manage my emails better?

Most people receive around 120 emails a day, and many of them are reading those mails more than twice before taking any action. It’s no wonder then that our Microsoft Outlook Productivity 1 hour demo is fast proving to be a 2013 top seller.

Reasons for exploding email inboxes

  • Not enough time
  • Too many emails received daily
  • Don’t know where to file mail
  • Need to keep it in case I’m asked for it
  • Add your excuse in here …

Dealing with the backlog

  1. Create a folder under your “inbox” entitled “old inbox up until 31 April 2013” (choose the date that works for you)
  2. Now drag all your old emails from your current inbox up to the 31st April 2013 into this folder
  3. If your inbox is not yet down to a manageable number, sort by “from” and working from the bottom up, clear your mails no longer needing an action out of your inbox

Good practices to help you move forward

  • Instead of checking email constantly throughout your day, break the obsession by scheduling 3-4 half hour intervals a day to check through your inbox to filter and process what’s come in since your last check-in
  • Remove ALL automatic email receipt notifications so you can’t be distracted by pings, beeps, changed screens and email envelopes. While you are at it, change the settings so that your email opens onto ‘Calendar’ instead of ‘Inbox’ to help you not get distracted by what’s in your inbox while you review what actions you need to take for the day

 There are only 3 action options for any incoming mail: Use the word FAD to help you remember these actions.

  • File: drag and drop the mail you need for reference or legal purposes into the appropriate folder
  • Action: If it needs to be actioned on a specific date at a specific time, right drag the email to your calendar immediately. If the action doesn’t yet have a specific date or time, either right drag it to your task manager or leave it in your inbox for prioritising at a later stage. Note: If it will honestly take you 2 minutes or less to reply to the mail you’ve just read, do it straight away
  • Delete: no elaboration required on this one. If you don’t need to keep the mail, press ‘delete’ now.

Finally, emails are meant for quick responses. Use bold headings and bullet points to get your point across. Actually, if you can contain the full message of your email in the subject line “Confirming 2pm for Thursday is a go” you will be well on your way to saving yourself (and the email recipient) some precious time.

Tracey Foulkes
Tracey Foulkes wows audiences with her sharp wit, quick reactions and personable sense of humour. She speaks about procrastination, business productivity, personal motivation and time management. . If you want your team to be inspired to operate outside of the box, contact her for a complimentary productivity assessment, email or find her on Twitter as Tracey Foulkes or on LinkedIn as Tracey Foulkes.
  • Pierre Viljoen

    In addition to the above you can create a rule on your inbox checking if a mail is directed at you (you will be in the to: field) or if you are just being copied so you know about what is happening (you will be in the cc: field). Move all the cc email to a separate folder which you can check when you have the time. What is left is items that need you attention.

  • Some awesome tips!! Quick thing – do you have a download link for your Microsoft Outlook Productivity 1 hour demo?