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Is Your Email Inbox Out Of Control?

I don’t know about yours, but mine is.  Over the past few months, my inbox has gone from being marginally manageable to completely out of control.  I have set my mind to coming up with some solutions for my bloated inbox, and this week, I received some welcome tips from Harvard Business Review:

  1. Read email in batches – HBR recommends reading emails at set times during the day, and to immediately file the emails in one of three folders:  follow-up, hold, or archive.  This is a bit simplistic for my inbox.  I use Gmail and have a number of labels for various topics, not just 3 folders.  Nevertheless, the idea is sound – read your emails at set times and file them in an appropriate location to get them out of your inbox.  Another tip – if you receive a large number of emails from one sender; e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc., run a search for all emails from that sender and then review those as a batch.  Otherwise, you may find yourself going back to the same site again and again to handle such emails individually.
  2. Use the “2 minute rule” – if an email will take less than 2 minutes to deal with it, then deal with it and be done with it.
  3. Unsubscribe from unread mailing lists – If your inbox is getting clogged with unread messages from mailing lists, then it may be time to check your mailing lists and determine which lists are worth keeping and which ones you should drop.

Do you have any other suggestions for freeing up an overly-burdened inbox?  If so, please share them with us.

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