Four Ways to a Clutter-Free InBox
July 24, 2013
If you’re like me, your InBox is a mysterious black hole filled with swirling emails. Picture the tornado scene in The Wizard of Oz, but with little email envelopes whirling around instead of cows, and you’ve got my InBox. It’s where important messages fall into some 5th dimension never to be read again, yet I can open an email to watch a video with a dancing baby over and over (just too funny!).
I am ashamed to admit that my Outlook has over 14,000 emails in it. Enough is enough! I’ve decided to no longer put up with the pain of sifting through my InBox. I have decided to take control. But how?
Recently I read a bit of advice online titled, “The Four D’s of Email” that I decided to share with you. E-mail can be a major distraction, and even an impediment. To handle it more efficiently, try following the Four D’s:
Do It – If you can take care of an e-mail in five minutes (without inconveniencing someone else) then do it.
Delegate It – If someone else should handle it, then delegate it.
Defer It – If you can’t handle it now, flag it for later, and don’t leave it in your InBox.
Delete It – If you don’t plan to act on it at all, then delete it.
I suggest we add a fifth “D” to the list: Direct It. Create rules in Outlook to automatically route incoming emails to specific folders. For example, do you subscribe to weekly or daily e-newsletters? Create a folder called “newsletters,” then create a rule so that all your e-newsletters will bypass your InBox and go straight to that folder. No passing Go!
Follow these tips, and hopefully your InBox will become less cluttered and more manageable. Otherwise you may be following a different set of D’s: Disdain, Disregard and Disgust!
– Kim Connor