I would like to start by saying that I am a procrastinator when it comes to my personal email inbox. I do pretty good with my work inbox for the most part. This week at a breakfast meeting with my mentor I was challenged to do something about the some 5k emails in my personal inbox. I had so many excuses, not to mention the fact that I had 4-5 separate email addresses and inboxes with different organizations I had to keep up with. Again, I was rightfully called out for making excuses regarding my tardiness in responding.
He wouldn’t accept the excuses I offered and told me to close an account or do something about the backlog. I had no intention of disconnecting entirely from those who only had one of my email addresses. Once back at my office, I decided to take some action. I deleted all the current emails in my personal inbox to clean things up and saved in a folder only those I truly needed. Note: Unbeknownst to me, there is an option to send reoccurring emails or emails from select individuals automatically to a folder. My coworker, Becky Mitchell, shared this helpful tip with me and told she that “I use the folders method to keep things and I delete/unsubscribe quite often too.” Here is how it is done:
Use an Outlook Rule to Forward Incoming E-mails to a Specified Folder
- Open Outlook and click on the Rules button under the HOME tab.
- Select Create Rule.
- A Create Rule dialog will open. Here you can select conditions through checkboxes (Refer to the image below).
- Click on Select Folder. ...
- Click OK. ...
- Now click on OK.
Okay now back to my actions, I then went to my work email inbox and cleaned things up; moving items, I really needed to save to folders and deleting the rest. My goal is to end each day with a clean email box…meaning empty!
The change is the now. I check my personal email 3 times a day and delete immediately after either glancing at, reading or responding. Once again, I also unsubscribed to numerous repeat offenders. This new action plan makes my day-to-day routine so much easier. Take it from me….clear out your email inbox each day.
The bottom line is this – I was convinced when I was told there may be people sending me emails wondering why I don’t respond, and some may have important messages for me. There may even be clients or prospects trying to reach us and you and I are completely unaware. So, now I religiously review, sometimes read, and delete 3 times a day. It may be different for you but whatever your method is, get in there and do something about the mess you may have!