Speed Clean Your Email
Over-run with Email?
Take charge of your email clutter! Is your inbox is over-stuffed with email after email that you don't know what to do with? Does it stress you out just thinking about it?
Email is no different than other form of clutter. You have one of three executive decisions to make about your email:
- Save it
- Donate it (i.e. forward it to someone else, then delete)
- Throw it away
OK...four executive decisions. You could "select all" and dump them. "Delete all"! But, that is not recommended. What if that all-important bank notification is in the mix...or, someone left you a million dollars?You don't want to miss THAT email. So, #4 is not recommended. (BTW, don't believe the one about a million dollars. It's spam.)
This article is being written to give you some strategies on how to solve the problem and not let it creep up on you again.
Define Your Email Account
First, identify what is the primary reason for your account?
- All of the Above
In a perfect world, you have no more than three email accounts and they are designed for very specific purposes. More times than not, this is not the case.
Many people acquired their first email account without much thought about the road ahead of them. It was probably for personal use, correct?
But somewhere along the line you decided to get into Facebooking and, voila, it was still "personal" but you began to get more and more Facebook notices as your Friends List grew. You found yourself with an email account filled with a plethora of notices to weed out. Too late to change your Facebook email so, do you get an additional personal email instead? But then you will have to let people know about your new address and you'll have 2 inboxes to check. Yikes! What a dilemma.
Add to it a day-job where you've been given an email account. If you were wise (and you were because your remembered your personal/Facebook email debacle) you reserved it for mainly business-related communication. So that one is in relatively good shape.
But then you are an avid learner, too. You have signed up for many newsletters and feeds online that you want--even need--to keep up with but there's the rub. How do you keep up with them?Especially those who have side-businesses with websites or blogs, your inbox fills up with all of those important "how-to's" that you subscribed to and love to comment on. If you are away from your computer for a few hours, days, or God forbid, weeks...they don't stop coming. They keep piling up at the rate of 20, 30, 50 or more emails per day!
This is where learning how to SPEED CLEAN YOUR EMAIL is an absolute must.
Speed Clean Your Email
Fundamental Principal: Email is there to serve you, you should not be serving it!
If your time is caught up with too much social networking and email tending, you probably aren't paying attention to what will really satisfy and make you money. Writers fall into this trap a lot. Now, to solve the problem...
HOW TO SPEED-CLEAN YOUR INBOX:
- Go to your inbox.
- Make a short list of the 5 most important sources that you get regular emails from. For me, the number one source is Problogger.net. I learn so much from each and every post on that site;I do not want to miss anything. Problogger has to be #1 on my list.
- Now, go to the "search email" window on the page and plug in the title that the source emails from. I just entered "Problogger". Yep, just as I thought. There are over 50 from this month alone.
- Next, tag them. With Gmail is is called "labeling", Yahoo calls it "folders". What ever the terminology, set up a folder or label with that source's name and label all the emails from that source. My first label now says "Problogger".
- Click on "Select All" or "Check All" which will select all of them in that search
- Now MOVE all of the emails from that source to its label / folder. They are identified and out of your inbox.
- Continue this process for all of the email sources that you do not want to miss out on.
Now, for the rest that are still in your inbox. You have a choice. You can either:
- Delete them
- Archive them (Google's GMAIL archives)
- Read them
How you handle it all depends on their value to you. The goal is to get your email inbox down to 0-10 emails remaining. Sometimes you will find an important email but have no time to read it. You do not want to lose track of it, though. When that happens, you can send it back to yourself to get it to the top of your inbox or mark it on your e-calendar to read at a later date and archive it.
How to never let it happen again:
When you get new emails in, sort them that day or delete them. Do not let them pile up. Same method, just less work because you already did your Speed Cleaning job!
UNSUBSCRIBE: writers hate to hear "unsubscribe" about anything because they don't want anybody to unsubscribe them. But you may have to evaluate the number of sources you are receiving emails from. If they are seldom of value, you may want to unsubscribe.
Are you using blogs to promote your writing or another business? Perhaps you are considering starting one.
As we said, bloggers get tons of email so be prepared from the start to keep on top of it. Here are some additional articles for aspiring online writers:
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