- Create separate folders for separate projects/people. One of the ways to deal effectively with information overflow is to separate the different streams of information. If you keep all your messages in your Inbox folder, soon it will contain thousands of messages, and it will be more difficult to find the message you need. You can create separate folders for different projects/people and file the emails into these folders.
- Create rules. Rules are one more way to optimize the flow of emails. Different email programs have different rules available, so you may want to check with your particular program to see which it offers. Almost always you can at least set rules for automatically moving/copying messages to/from a certain person to a separate folder.
- Use new message alerts. Very often you can configure alerts for new messages. If your email program does not have this feature enabled by default, you should consider enabling it.
- Manage spam filters. Spam filters are also part of inbox management, and depending on the amount of spam you receive, managing spam filters could take a lot of time. However, one of the important issues you must have in mind is that if your spam filters are not properly set, they could cut legitimate messages as well. So, set your spam filters with care.
- Use flags. Flags are a really useful way to separate a message from the rest. As with many of the other advanced inbox tricks, different email clients offer different flag systems, but almost any program offers flags for marking incoming messages as important, urgent, etc. If you have never used flagging, you will be surprised how easy and effective it is.
There are many more tips, all of which are good to know. Actually, we are just scratching the surface and we could add more ways to optimize your inbox use! But if you apply even the tips above, you will experience significant improvement in terms of effective email use. Don’t you think you should take a look at your inbox?