One of my favorite films of all time is You’ve Got Mail starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. No, this post isn’t a tribute to this classic film. It’s about what action to take after you have received an e-mail.
How much mail is in YOUR in-box at the moment?
As I type this post, I have 9 messages total in my in-box. Not 9 unread messages, but simply 9 messages. I have a note from my dad, a community list-serve digest, three personal correspondences, a message from my health insurance, and three messages I sent to myself with dates I must transfer to my calendar. That’s it. I can actually see and enjoy the beautiful background I chose.
How do I keep my in-box so uncluttered? Here are my secrets:
1. Delete. Not everything that comes in my in-box needs to be read. On Sundays, I may receive 25 list-serve digests from my community. If I don’t read a few, the world will not come to an end.
2. Create files. I have one file called ‘Messages to Keep’. If there is something I have read, but I’m not ready to delete it or don’t have a specific file for it, the message gets moved here. After awhile I’ll go through those and purge the ones no longer relevant.
To name a few of my files: Schools (named by school), Messages to Keep, Recipes, Organizing (articles I find on-line and want to keep for reference), Massage, Photos, From Mom and Dad, ADDitude (magazine for parents of/ or individuals with ADHD/ADD), The Klutter Koach, and Teaching. I have 26 files at present. The beauty of files is that you can create as many as you want.
3. Unsubscribe. Do you have mailing lists you no longer care to receive or can live without? They all have a very convenient place to click that allows you to remove yourself from the mailing lists. For example, I was on the mailing list to receive announcements for a school I used to teach at. I loved working at this school, but four years after I moved, did I really need to know about the next day’s weather-related closing? Hence, I unsubscribed.
4. Change your settings. If you belong to Yahoo Groups, for example, you can adjust your settings to receive a daily digest, a weekly digest, or no mail at all. Try to alter your settings so that you receive as few messages as possible. This is not set in stone, so you can experiment with what works best for you. You have the freedom to change your settings as often as you want.
If you have an in-box with hundreds (or thousands?–gulp) of e-mails, start by allotting 15 minutes at a time to tackle this clutter. Delete. Create folders. Start chipping away and eventually at the backlog will disappear.
So, these are my pearls of wisdom for managing your in-box. Some of you have chosen to follow the Klutter Koach. After you have read this blog post, now what? You can delete it or keep it. If you choose to keep it, create a file called The Klutter Koach and go right ahead and file it there. Now you have one less item in your in-box. Congratulations.
Thanks for reading.
The Klutter Koach