If you feel overwhelmed by trying to manage e-mails, here are a few tips.  

You decide when

  • decide when you are going to check e-mails - turn off the beep that announces new mail.  Read mail when it suits you - maybe twice a day in the morning and late afternoon

Deal - Delete - Delay

  • if you can deal with an e-mail in a couple of minutes (be realistic), do so
  • if it's scam or irrelevant, delete - with Outlook or similar you can recover from the Deleted Items folder if you make a mistake
  • only delay reading or responding to an e-mail if it looks important and you need time to read it properly or it will take time to consider a response

Move the back-log

  • if your Inbox is full, create a new "Back-log" folder using New, New Folder or similar -  select all (Ctrl-A) and move the e-mail messages to the new Back-log folder using your mouse
  • then make time each day (first thing, for say 30 minutes) to go through the list and deal with each, file as necessary or delete

File using folders

  • create mailbox folders (in Outlook, Ctrl-Shift-E) and set up a file directory similar to what you use for Word documents
  • drag relevant e-mails to the appropriate folder
  • do the same with important Sent messages

Use Calendar and E-mail together

  • if you use Outlook Calendar or similar, save a copy of relevant e-mails (e.g. Agendas and/or file attachments) with the appointment - and delete the original e-mail
  • set a reminder and all you need for that appointment or meeting is in one place

Click here to learn how to do this in Outlook 2007 through an interactive learning presentation

3D HR runs workshops on E-mail and Calendar Management with useful tips and handouts - contact us for the next learning workshop.


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This work by Peter Kenworthy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

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