Managing Email and Stopping It From Overwhelming You
Email has been around since before the Internet. Some people, in fact, receive hundreds of messages a day. That’s a threat to a human’s ability to process information. It’s a rare computer user today who isn’t constantly battling email overload. Does that describe you or someone you know? Never fear. You’re not alone, and there are some tips you can take to tame the electronic avalanche and regain control of your computing life.
Tips no. 1:
Shut down your in-box if you find emails are distracting you from productive work. You can still be alerted to important messages through an SMS text message.
Set up a “from-based” filter within your email client, such as Gmail, to forward important emails to your phone’s text account. That way, you’ll see the initial 140 characters on the phone as the message comes in and know that you need to open your email client to address the email. This method will only work if you keep your phone’s SMS message functions exclusively for important stuff.
Tips no. 2:
Hit the Unsubscribe link embedded in legitimate mass emails and then delete the email without reading it. Gradually your daily volume will decrease some of those lists are bombarding you frequently. Be careful here, because some unscrupulous marketers use the Unsubscribe link to identify your email box as being live.
Tips no. 3:
Avoid distributing your email address, but if you do, use a Burner email (Burner email addresses are disposable addresses that let you sign up for services and click on the verify link in the sent email; the addresses then vaporize after a predetermined period, like an hour. Guerrillamail.com is one such Web-based solution).
Unfortunately, marketers looking for prospects to harass have wised-up to the use of completely fabricated email addresses when signing up for services, and won’t let you register for services without a legitimate email.
Tips no. 4:
Look for newsletter marketing preferences options whenever you give out your email in a Web-based form and uncheck the boxes and turn off email notifications from social networks. Look for the options within the account management page.
Tips no. 5:
Take advantage of triaging tricks offered by email services.
Clients like Outlook let you set up hierarchical folders. Add project folders with action and archive subfolders, then drag-and-drop from the in-box as emails come in, for example. Then deal with the email on a project-by-project basis rather than a hit-and-miss chronological one.
Alternatively, use filters to send messages to the project folder, then address the email content as you work on that particular project.
Look for category options within email clients and take advantage of them. Gmail’s newest client on some Android 4.0+, iPhone and iPad devices, for example, lets you categorize by people you actually know. Look for the new Primary tab there. Mark certain message senders as Important if your email client lets you do that.
Tips no. 6:
Try some email management software.
Boomerang, a plugin for Gmail, lets you set up reminders if no one replies to your message, so you don’t have to retain tickle items in your in-box.
ActiveInBox, a Gmail extension for Chrome or Firefox, creates professional status and prioritization project management-like elements within Gmail.
Tips no. 7:
Turn the whole process into one big game with The Email Game. This Gmail and Google Apps-compatible game gives you a score. The faster you clear your in-box, the more points you get.