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:

  1. Save it
  2. Donate it (i.e. forward it to someone else, then delete)
  3. 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?

  • Business
  • Personal
  • Educational
  • 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:

  1. Go to your inbox.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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".
  5. Click on "Select All" or "Check All" which will select all of them in that search
  6. Now MOVE all of the emails from that source to its label / folder. They are identified and out of your inbox.
  7. 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:

  1. Delete them
  2. Archive them (Google's GMAIL archives)
  3. 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.


About the Author...

Sinea Pies is a freelance writer who write frequently for HubPages, GVParent Magazine, WebAnswers and her own website: Ducks 'n a Row.

Photo credit: "Email White Contour Web Icon" used for the divider by m_bartosch on Freedigitalphotos

Helpful Resources

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:

More by this Author


Comments 35 comments

SpiffyD profile image

SpiffyD 5 years ago from The Caribbean

Emails can easily contribute to the "busywork" phenomenon, where you are occupied with unproductive activity. These tips here ensure a high degree of efficiency in dealing with emails.


writeronline 5 years ago

Good helpful info here, Sinea, thankyou. I manage my email reasonably well, with the same basic process you describe, and I'm sure the disciplines you lay out so clearly here, will benefit anyone who chooses to put them into place.

As you say though, the key is self-discipline. Don't just shift the pile into less in-your-face locations. Make decisions that will eliminate the current crap, limit the flow, and thus alleviate the clutter.

Otherwise, it's just the illusion of progress, when all it is, is motion. As in; Circular motion. Treadmill motion.

Maybe the inventors of email knew the risk all along; which would exlain why they chose the '@' symbol. It's the nearest one we have to a maze!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I sure needed this! I spend 70% of my computer time trying to catch up with email. I doubt that I will ever achieve this. Your hub is full of great suggestions. Now, I just need to follow them :) Rated Up.


Terri  5 years ago

Just what I needed, Sinea! You would not believe how many emails I have in my Inbox, even with folders set up! Thank you!


lisa42 profile image

lisa42 5 years ago from Sacramento

My email box definitely needs some cleaning. This is the push I needed to get me started. Thanks!


AUPADHYAY profile image

AUPADHYAY 5 years ago from INDIA, UTTAR PRADESH STATE, KANPUR CITY

An useful and interesting hub. Thanks


zanaworld profile image

zanaworld 5 years ago from Bangalore

I have written a hub on similar subject on How to Clean the Gmail Inbox. It is titled: Good-Housekeeping-habits-for-your-Gmail-Inbox. My tips were to have two labels only. One is READ LATER, second one is ACTION and rest of the email either should be deleted or archived. Since Gmail offers good search facility it is better to have limited labels. You not only clean INBOX, but also cluster free LABELS (folders).

here is link to my hubpage for further reading...

http://hubpages.com/technology/Good-Housekeeping-h...


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Good advice! Thanks for stopping by.


ytsenoh profile image

ytsenoh 4 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

Excellent advice. I think unsubscribing to specific e-mails is great advice and well worth the time because it eliminates so much junk e-mail. I think we all know, too, how time consuming this effort is in managing all of our e-mail accounts whether business or personal related. If you take the time to generate folders to manage business e-mails, all the more reason to do the same with personal e-mail accounts. And all for the reason to avoid feeling overwhelmed. It's like cleaning the garage, who really wants to do it? However, once you do, you can actually find things like that hammer you were looking for last week to hang up the pictures you got over the holidays. Thumbs up on this hub.


Don Simkovich profile image

Don Simkovich 4 years ago from Pasadena, CA

Well worth taking the time to clean up and it's easy to get out of control. I have to discipline myself to create the necessary folders.


alphagirl profile image

alphagirl 4 years ago from USA

Great Advice. It is amazing the amount of junk mail that is sent. I set up controls so that if i don't recognize I send it to junk then trash.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Thanks Don for the comment. You are right, it takes discipline to keep email inboxes in order but it's well worth the effort. Gmail users should archive to get a clean start. That way it's out of the inbox but not gone.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Controls are a very good idea, alphagirl. Thanks.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Good advice. The new sweep features help a lot with cleaning up! I use folders too, as it helps me to hold on to things I want to keep.

Thanks for SHARING.


tammyfrost profile image

tammyfrost 4 years ago from Oregon

Great info on De-cluttering email. That is why I have multiple email accounts but even multiple accounts can get cluttered. I find myself cleaning up email accounts on daily basis.


Hunbbel Meer profile image

Hunbbel Meer 4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

Some really good and insightful advices there. I have like 4 Email accounts (currently in 'constant' use)and like a half dozen (with not the same usage). It is always good to manage the Emails to be able to look into things that are really important to you. And with constant customization in websites like Hotmail, Google, it is has become quite easier.

Thank you for sharing a good hub :)


vasantha  T k profile image

vasantha T k 4 years ago from Bangalore

Good helpful information given . Voted up .Best wishes


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Thanks Bret.Tesol...yes, hotmail was way too cluttered for me. I finally left them for greener pastures. I heard that they added "sweep". Sounds promising! Those of us who love email also need some simple strategy to tame our inboxes! :)


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Thanks Tammy Frost...I have a daily "archiving" party myself. Gotta get the clutter out!


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Thank you vasanth t k and Hunbbel Meer for you nice comments and the vote up!


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Good ideas, Sinea, re email.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Thanks B.Leekley


internetgeek profile image

internetgeek 4 years ago from Hyderabad, India.

This is really useful. Junk mails are very annoying and should be cleaned. Thanks for sharing and voted up:)


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Thanks for the vote UP internetgeek. It's appreciated!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

I have to agree with everybody, good advice and good information. I only have one email account now that I am retired and I get over 100 emails per day. Out of that 100 probably 30 are worth reading! Voted up.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Now you know what to do with the other 70! Thanks for the vote up, tillsontitan.


poshcoffeeco profile image

poshcoffeeco 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire

Hi there,

Your articles are a delight to read and are so informative. I particularly like the layout od this one and it's easy to follow structure. I shall certainly be using some of your tips and strategies to improve my own hubs and articles. Thanks so much.

Vote up and all the rest apart from funny.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Thank you so very much, poshcoffeeco. I appreciate your kind words and the many votes you gave this hub!


williwatson profile image

williwatson 4 years ago from Cleveland

Interesting hub, tips were of so much use, I personally use Google labels to sort out my emails. It saves a me a lot of time, so I think this post of yours will definitely do great help to all readers.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Thanks williwatson. I like the labels on Gmail, as well.


everythingdazzles profile image

everythingdazzles 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

Oh yes I just decluttered mine and it feels so much better!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

This is excellent advice. I have my emails set up to automatically move the messages to the right folders, but I still have way too many. I need to be faster with the delete key.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Excellent tips, Sinea. You make it so simple. I had no idea it could be done this way.

voted up and useful.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Thanks so much for the vote up and useful! Much appreciated. :)


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States Author

Millionaire Tips, as always, a pleasure to hear from you!

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