How To Tame The Email Monster

I’m wide open to suggestions on this one!

If I have to guess I would say that many of you, like me, are flooded with emails and battle to keep your inbox under control.

Just recently I counted well over a hundred and plenty something sitting in my inbox waiting for attention. And that was after I had a clear out of fifty or so. Clearly a lot of them did not get the attention they possibly should have done.

I use Outlook mainly because, as I use the entire MS Office suite for work other than IM, I am familiar with it. I am aware that various alternate email clients or programs and / or addons may assist with separating and filing of email. But none of them can actually sort, prioritize and take appropriate and timely action. Ultimately we need a system in place that can do that.

Here’s what I am experimenting with. I have created a series of folders.

  • Must Do Today
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • … and so on through the week
  • Newsletters / Reading

Whenever I check my inbox I quickly scan the contents and move the email into one or other of those folders.

Something that requires attention today, without fail, goes into the Must Do Today Folder. That folder gets worked on as and when I have time during the day and must be cleared before calling it quits for the day.

An email that has a deadline for something, say three days out, would go into the folder for whatever day of the week three days out happens to be.

The actual day of the week folder gets actioned and cleared along with the Must Do Today folder.

Finally stuff that is just Newsletters or Reading goes into that folder and is read when there is time.

Once actioned, emails are filed in the normal way. You do file your emails don’t you…?

As I said, it a new system and I’m trying it out. So far so good. It leaves me feeling more organised and it definitely saves me time. I would have to say it works. It requires discipline because it is a new way of working. However, once it becomes routine I will probably wonder how I ever coped before.

What system do you have or how could you improve on this system? I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, comments or suggestions.

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