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3 tips to overcome Email Overload

An email inbox can take over your life, if you let it, so here are 3 of my top tips for keeping it under control with a little bit of automation and clean up.

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Tip 1 Set up "Quick Steps", these are automated shortcuts in Outlook that are overlooked by most people. They are in the Home menu with some already set up for you (but the first time you use them you get to set up the correct details for them e.g. to whom to send your team email). You can also create a new one from scratch, which can include one or many steps. I have found this very useful as I typically wanted to set up a meeting or task from an email, include the email on the meeting and file a copy in a certain folder as well.

Take the time to come up with at least 2 new quick links that suit your work pattern, or utilize 2 of the options already created. And then make sure you use them over the next 2 weeks. At the end of that time don't be surprised if you haven't set up another couple. If you run out of inspiration try the down arrow in the main box as the "New Quick Step" option has another couple to try out. And finally you can decide which ones show in the main box (or edit them later) in the "Manage Quick Steps" option.

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Tip 2 Set up a regular date in your calendar and challenge yourself to unsubscribe from at least 10 of your past subscriptions on a monthly basis. Yes it is nice to find out about some specials at a certain store, but it really is just creating clutter in your inbox, which in the end creates stress as you lose an email that you needed to attend to within the clutter. All subscriptions will have an unsubscribe option, usually in small print down the bottom of the email. Be careful, as sometimes you might click on it and think it is done, but just double check that the website it brings up to unsubscribe states that it is completed, or if you need to press another button to confirm.

Tip 3 Now that searching is so much easier in Microsoft Outlook, you don't need to keep every copy of an email trail. Utilize the "Clean Up" function to clean up email conversations. Don't panic, it will keep every email that includes all the back and forth, but instead of having:

  • Mary's initial email,
  • John's response (which includes Mary's email), and
  • Mary's response (which includes all the details in the above email).

It would just keep that last email. If you were Mary and had also sent John's response onto someone else with another comment, it would save that as well.

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To access it, in your Home menu choose the Clean Up option. You can just clean up one back and forth conversation, but why not clean up your whole main inbox folder.



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