The secret to dealing with email overload
Filter out unwanted email. Any email client worth its salt will have filters built in to exclude mail by sender, subject or recipient. Go through your inbox and weed out anyone who persistently sends you extraneous material. Googlemail has a great function called “Skip the inbox” which diverts certain email to a side folder where you can register its presence without it cluttering up your inbox. Spend half an hour setting up a few of these and watch your inbox clear magically.
Beat spammers at their own game. Don’t fall for the biggest trick in the book and click on “unsubscribe” at the bottom of a marketing email. Spammers use this to work out if addresses are active, resulting in yet more spam.
Schedule unplugged times. Put aside certain times of the day, evenings or weekends where you will block out all incoming traffic: no phone, no computer, no PDA, nothing. Turn off your email when working on important projects, or set it to only check mail once an hour.
Keep to the point. The subject line is your headline, and the email’s purpose should be clear in the first two lines. The action expected of the recipient should be explicit.
Cut out clutter by discouraging the sending of one-word “Thanks” or “OK” emails. An instant message or even – shock horror – a face-to-face greeting, would be better.