Taming Your Inbox – Part 2

Do you feel like you’re drowning, not in water but in emails? Tons and tons of emails. Some important that need to handled right away. But the bulk of them can be sifted through at a later date or just deleted. But how do you keep from being overwhelmed with the deluge of emails? If that’s a question you’ve been asking, then read on!

Taming Your Inbox – Part 2

By TJ Helm

Today, we’re continuing with the email organization theme since this is a big subject. Email has become such an integral part of our business, corporate, and personal lives that it only makes good sense to know how to use this tool. Last time we discussed how using naming conventions can make emails easier to find. Now we’ll move on to other aspects of email management.


Some people don’t like to use the “Archive” function in the email program but still want to separate the information by year. I like to sort my emails by year with the current year to the top. In order to do that, I can’t use 2011 and 2012 because 2011 will be at the top. I started with 99 for last year, 98 for this year, 97 for next year and so forth. Chances are I’m not going to retain 100 years’ worth of files; I could have easily started with 9 then 8 then 7. However it works for you and your business is the way you should do it.


There are some emails you receive that you know you’re not likely to look at them after you file them but you just aren’t comfortable just deleting it outright. Rather than putting it in the “Trash” folder, that is automatically emptied, I create a folder named “Z-Trash”. This folder sorts to the bottom and I can put lots of stuff in it that when I’m ready to archive the year, I can delete.

I’m always going to want my user confirmations information available from year to year so I name that with something that isn’t associated with a 99 or 98 or 97. For UserInfo, I’d name it with a 1-UserInfo so that it’s always at the top.


Most email programs allow for you to create rules or filters. This function allows for you to have an incoming email go directly to a different folder than your inbox. If you use a particular email address for any training you take, you can use that email address to filter those emails directly into your “Training” folder. For those of you who get a bunch of newsletters, you can set up a rule that if “Newsletter” appears in the email “Subject” then you can have that go directly to a “Newsletter” folder.

These are just a few things that you can do to help keep your email under control. No matter what system you use: many folders or just one big dumping ground, the search function allows you to find any email based on information in the subject, body, date, or email address. In many ways, the email program is more convenient that a traditional file cabinet since you can search quickly rather than having to go through each piece of correspondence.

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