Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How-To: Declutter Your Email

Here is one way you can start decluttering immediately, without leaving your computer. When was the last time you cleaned out your email? Do you regularly clean out your email or is your inbox generally full of hundreds of emails from the last few months? Decluttering isn't just about physical clutter - it can also be about digital clutter.

I generally try and clean out my email at least every couple of weeks (although it has been awhile at the moment...). Maybe once a month will be fine if you don't receive many emails. Here are the steps I take:

  1. Create folders to store emails in - e.g. one folder for Family, another for Financial, another for friends you regularly email.
  2. When you receive email, immediately delete emails you don't want to keep, such as airline sale notifications you aren't interested in or those Facebook emails about people commenting on your status.
  3. Regularly, such as every couple of weeks or once a month, go through all your emails in your Inbox. With each email, delete it, file it into a folder or leave it in the inbox if you still need to action it (e.g. you want to reply to it or you are interested in the sale being advertised). Ideally you will only have a short list of emails left, if any.
  4. If your recycle/trash bin is not set to automatically empty, empty your recycle/trash bin now of all the emails you have newly deleted.
  5. Now is probably also a good time to reply to some of those emails that you've re-discovered in your inbox.

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