There are so many e-mails coming at us these days that e-mail management is very important. I find the best way for me to keep my Inbox organized is to immediately deal with the e-mail when it arrives. I never have more than four or five e-mails in my Inbox for any length of time.
Here are five buts you can do without:
But I don't have time!
Dealing with an e-mail does not necessarily mean taking action on it right away, sometimes we are just too busy. It may be something that you have to deal with tomorrow or next week. Move it from your Inbox to a Task with a reminder to do it later. The main thing is to get it out of your Inbox or things become too cluttered.
But it can't wait!
At times it is just as quick to answer the e-mail and be done with it, but I like to keep a record of the e-mail so I know I did the work. That is when subfolders come in handy, but if your subfolders are too complicated it can turn into a never-never land and you will never find it again. Try to keep it simple. Have four or five main folders and then put subfolders under them for anything that has to do with the main heading. For instance, I have folders for the Board of Directors, International, Personal and one for Work Information. Under those main headings I put subfolders for anything that relates to the main heading, with clear names of what is in them. Of course what works for me will probably not apply to you so you need to set up folders that apply to your working situation, but the fewer the better.
But what about my boss?
I have a folder dedicated specifically for my boss's e-mails. I set a Rule to make it go to that folder with a special ring so I know when I need to pay attention and check my e-mail account. What I especially like about it is now when I need to find an e-mail that my boss sent me, it is not tangled up with all the other e-mails, but in a folder all its own. Makes my life simpler.
But what about the other stuff?
I get internal newsletters and other information-type e-mails so I have a folder called News and dump everything like that in there until I have a chance to go back and read it or delete it. I have actuallly set a Rule for that as well, so it goes directly to that folder.
But I can't see it!
You may panic and think because it is out of sight you will forget about it, but if you move an e-mail unread into a folder, it will bold the folder so you know there is an unread e-mail in there. You can also set a follow up on your e-mail, with a reminder set and it will pop up in your Reminder box so don't worry, it won't get lost.
The main thing is to get it out of your Inbox until you have time to deal with it. It is so nice to see my Inbox on empty. Much more manageable...Sigh! Feels much better.