Email (dis)organization

An E-mail!

If you’re anything like me, your inbox in your favorite email program is disorganized and full. I use MS Outlook for email, and I fully intend to keep it organized and manageable. But for some reason, I have over 1000 unread messages, and who knows how many read messages. It’s a complete mess! I also forget to respond to people occasionally, making a mental note to get back to them after I’ve given their message more thought. Somehow I forget to give it more thought, I guess.

I really do care about my email messages. I check email a couple times each day. And I even use the folders system to some extent. Because messages are removed from the server after deletion, I have a folder that I call “keep” so I won’t lose important things. At the same time, there are folders for bills (I forget to open that one a lot), and I keep those indefinitely also.

My plan of action is to only “touch” an email once. When it comes into my sight, I have to read it and either do the required action, file the message in an appropriate folder, or delete it. That’s the plan. I’ve had this plan for a long time, though.

What’s your email situation? Are you really organized? Do you keep all of your messages in your main inbox, or do you move them to folders? I really wish that Outlook allowed me to highlight messages (instead of just flagging them). Maybe if I could highlight a message just like I can highlight a row in Excel, I might actually take action on things that I want to take a quick glance at and save for later.

So if you’ve sent me an email and I haven’t responded, please don’t think I’m ignoring it on purpose. I probably just filed it away or it got lost in the inbox ocean.

Please share with us how you keep your email organized and efficient.


14 Responses to “Email (dis)organization”

  1. Jenny says:

    I usually keep folders for each and every person i communicate with, but the most import folder from my email is TODO Today. In here i keep the emails i have to respond to, emails from colleagues asking me to do something, etc etc. It is a very good way to keep track of the important issue. For isue that i have a longer deadline i usually keep them in a Pending folder and they are flagged and i receive notification about them every day :)

  2. This is a nice topic. I don’t use Outlook, I always have preferred to use the “alternative”, Mozilla Thunderbird. I never leave any mail unread. i try to keep my maibox at zero new messages. When I check my new emails I tag them according to importance so if I don’t have time to attend them right away, the next time I open my email client I’ll see that there are 3 emails on blue that need to be respondend immediately. I also use filters. It is very important to keep your email box organized
    .-= Spanish Lessons´s last blog ..Mundo Hispano – Calentamiento global y Eduardo Gold =-.

  3. Hi Theda,
    for long I was battling my email addiction. I wanted to limit my email usage to once a day but it simply didn’t work.
    I would struggle all day to do not check my inbox and often that alone would consume way too much energy. I gave up. I try to check email not as often as I used to and use email notifiers to tell me if there’s a new message. This way I don’t feel like opening my inbox anymore yet I still know every time a new message arrives.
    All in all, sometimes battling these so-called productivity issues costs you more energy than sticking with them and doing your work.
    .-= Pawel @ Self Employed Cafe´s last blog ..5 Things You Must Research Before Starting a Business =-.

  4. My email is such a disaster. I’ve got one or two emails for every website I own. Plus Yahoo for every niche I market to. Plus the old standard at my cable company and my person account. I forward many of them to a primary email, but I don’t want biz to mixed with personal too much so I end up checking at least 3 email servers and 4 email addresses about 2x a day.
    And I haven’t even gotten to the mess that is my inbox. Disaster. It actually causes me anxiety to see that I have new message. I’ll end up as the email Unabomber with a crazy little nuthut in the middle of nowhere. I’ll spend all my time hating email.

  5. The truth of the matter is if you have not read an email by the end of two weeks the likelihood of that happening becomes very slim. Your time is precious. Don’t be afraid to use the delete button.
    .-= shirley Kelly´s last blog ..Mosaic Stained Glass Stepping Stones =-.

  6. ho'oponopono says:

    Thunderbird, Thunderbird, Thunderbird… Say it again! Easy to use, sleek, plenty of features, and to top it all off – free! I couldn’t see myself doing email without it.

  7. Choco says:

    I’m sooo good at understanding what you are saying. My inbox looks pretty much the same even though I don’t use Outlook.
    But you know, not reading some email can turn out to be bad: I once got some of the best job offers ever and forgot to reply just because of the messed up situation in my inbox.

  8. “My plan of action is to only ‘touch’an email once.” I have this habit,too! I don’t like to go back to check or read my e-mails again and again.That takes me time and I hate troubles.I think if we could do things right in the first place,why would we do it again?
    .-= Heidi Simpson´s last blog ..To be Unique and Meaningful – BPOVIA On-page Optimization Guide =-.

  9. It is really hard to read email messages since most of them are boring and long. What I do is I usually just look at the subjects. If it doesn’t concern me, most often than not I delete them. I also try to put them in folders. It is a lot refreshing to see an empty inbox at the end of the day.

  10. I never leave any mail unread. i try to keep my maibox at zero new messages. When I check my new emails I tag them according to importance so if I don’t have time to attend them right away, the next time I open my email client I’ll see that there are 3 emails on blue that need to be respondend immediately.

  11. AEM Intakes says:

    Best way to keep email organised is to use a pop mail client such as Outlook Express and have your accounts configured on it… That does the first task to get all your mails to one place… Next you set up filters to direct mail to respective folders automatically so you are not lost sorting them out :) Then you could flag messages based on priority, set them into todo lists and so on… If your work is dependant on email, you could even set up push mail on your mobile and have the urgent messages tended to at the first instance!

  12. Native Son says:

    I think that my segregating email into different accounts on various servers depending on its content probably has helped my email control efforts rather a lot.

    I also find that utilizing the designed features of both Gmail (esp. archiving and search) and and fastmail.fm (esp. aliases and filtering rules) helps a lot too.

  13. I try every so often, when I have a little time on my hands, to clean out my inbox. However, I must not have enough time on my hands, but it still seems to get disorganized and full!