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6 Steps To Tame Your Email Overload

Source | FastCompany : By Gwen Moran

Despite the rumors of its demise, the truth is that email is still very much alive and kicking. In fact, a 2015 survey commissioned by Adobe found that we spend roughly 30 hours each week checking our email. That’s the equivalent of a demanding part-time job.

“Most people’s email is just teeming with all the stuff they need to do,” says Maura Thomas, founder of the productivity website and author of Personal Productivity Secrets. The key to slaying the email dragon is multifaceted, but it really boils down to better email and workflow management.

The goal here isn’t necessarily “inbox zero.” Instead, the experts advise adopting an array of useful tools and practices to help your email messaging system be a more efficient communication tool that doesn’t eat up most of your day. Try these tips.


The first step to making your inbox less overwhelming is to slow the flow of what’s coming in. That means unsubscribing to all of those newsletters, promotional email messages, and other non-essential email messages. Thomas uses SpamDrain. Other services like round up your promotional email messages and newsletters and let you unsubscribe in a single click. Those you want to keep are organized into a single email delivery each day.

To cut down on future junk email messages, establish an email address to use for subscriptions and online purchases.


Another way to cut email inflow is to work at a higher level to set policies within your organization, Thomas says. It seems basic, but a fair amount of “FYI” email messaging can be cut down by simply giving people guidelines about when they should copy team members and when it’s not necessary.


With increasing adoption of collaboration tools like Slack, HipChat, and even Google Documents, information exists in a place where people can easily access it instead of sending email inquiries, says Ron Webb, director of open standards research and information systems at the Houston-based American Productivity and Quality Center, an organization that helps companies get work done more efficiently and effectively. Using such tools when they are appropriate may cut down on inquiry emails since colleagues can simply refer to the collaboration tools, which are often searchable and have the latest version of documents and projects.

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