Find Time by Managing Your Inbox-5 Tips on Cyber Monday!

Finding Tome to Manage Your In-BoxDoes your inbox ever feel like your enemy?

Sometimes finding time to manage your e-mail is the last thing on your list. Yet, isn’t it true that your stress level is often directly related to the number of e-mails in your inbox?

2 Top Inbox Tips

This Cyber Monday, I’d like to share 5 simple tips that can help you get your inbox (AND your stress level) down to size!

  • Make your choices about received items as quickly as possible, and avoid letting your inbox become a catch-all.  When you receive an e-mail the rule of thumb and is to read it quickly, and then either reply immediately, forward it (if you want to share it), save it to another folder (if you want to keep it for future reference), retain it for further action, or delete it.
  • You should be able to see everything that’s in your inbox without having to scroll down. The things that you can’t see have the potential to get lost.  The unseen will likely generate stress for you, too. It’s a good idea to clean out your inbox at least once a week. This may not always be possible, but if you can get it down to even just two or three messages that will be great. And if you can do this more than once a week, even better!

3 More Tips to Power Your Productivity

  • Create additional folders, either for storing e-mails that you may need later or for categorizing them for easy retrieval. You may want to create a folder for things to do. (The only down side to that option is that if you don’t open that folder, you won’t see your list!) I suggest using your inbox as the place for holding your “things to do.” That way you’ll know that items in your inbox are things that you need to tend to. Once they are done, if you still need to retain them, you can move them to one of your storage folders.
  • Remember that in most e-mail systems when you send an e-mail, a copy is retained in your “Sent” folder. Likewise, when you delete something it doesn’t immediately disappear.  It is simply moved to your Deleted Items folder. These folders can eventually get to be quite full, and so I strongly recommend that you clean them out regularly.  Schedule a time for doing this weekly.
  • That two-step process for deletions can actually be quite helpful. If you’re nervous about deleting something, I suggest that you let it stay in your deleted items folder for a longer period of time. Once you’re sure that you don’t need it, you can then delete it from that folder.

If you’re a subscriber to Finding Time Tips, you may have already received some other e-mail management ideas. Managing your inbox is a wonderful organizational, time management, and stress-reducing tool.  Do you have other tips and tricks for managing your e-mail?  Please drop me a line – I’d love to hear!

And there’s more…

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Let’s explore time together …


  1. Hi Paula,

    One of the most powerful tools for me has been setting up rules in Outlook. That way I have certain things go directly to folders without clogging up my inbox, for example, a lot of the information I get about internet marketing. That has helped immensely. But I still have too much in my inbox. Thanks for this helpful tip! It’s a work in progress.


  2. Happy Monday, Wendy! Thank you for mentioning rules. I hear that they are excellent tools – although I haven’t actually used them a whole lot. This sounds like a great Cyber-Monday follow-up post. I’ll do some research and return with some “Rules Tool” info next week. Thanks for the tip – and have a great day!


  3. I LOVE your idea of using storage folders for items attended to, leaving the Inbox for undone tasks only!

    I also find a fast way to weed out old emails is to periodically, maybe once a month or 2, view them alphabetically by sender. Then I can eliminate whole sections at once with very little time needed to asses the subject line. (Out of date sales, nonprofit appeals to send emails, etc.)

    I also like your posting recent comments in a special column for quick review – keep those ideas coming!

  4. Thanks for the tip, Alison! The alpha sort is a great way to weed out things that you don’t need. I appreciate your ideas and your positive energy! Paula

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