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5 Easy fixes for an overloaded email inbox

BY James O'Malley

26th Sep 2023 Lifestyle

2 min read

5 Easy fixes for an overloaded email inbox
Our tech expert James O'Malley shares his tips for dealing with hundreds (or thousands) of unread emails
There’s nothing worse than an overflowing inbox—and the nagging suspicion that you might have missed something important somewhere in the pile of notifications, newsletters and spam. But don’t worry, here’s some quick tips to help get on top of it all. 

Follow the two minute rule

This is going to sound crazy, but if you receive an email and you think it will take less than two minutes to respond…Just do it.
"If you can develop the habit of actually responding quickly, everyone wins"
It’s very tempting to just leave it in your inbox to fester, but if you can develop the habit of actually responding quickly, everyone wins: You get that email out of your to-do list, and the sender gets the response they need much more quickly. 

Unsubscribe

If your inbox is clogged up with newsletters and other automated emails then you can get rid of most of them with relative ease. By law, the companies that send them must include an “unsubscribe” button that will take you off of the mailing list.
Usually, this is buried somewhere towards the bottom of the email—but some email apps will figure this out for you and include an “Unsubscribe” button up top. Don’t be afraid to hit it! And if you can’t see an unsubscribe button? You can always block the sender from contacting you in the first place. 

Automatic filters

Check out your email app’s filtering options, where you can create “rules” to automatically route your emails to the right places. For example, if there’s a newsletter you like, you can have it automatically sent to a folder, rather than have it stored in your main inbox.
"Check out your email app’s filtering options, where you can create 'rules' to automatically route your emails to the right places"
Or you could have your email app automatically file away and archive receipts from the online stores you use. Don’t worry, they will still be in your emails if you need them, but they won’t be cluttering up the inbox. 

Scheduling replies

Playing email ping-pong isn’t always fun. Just when you think you’ve cleared your inbox and can put your head down and do some work, ping! They’ve already got back to you. What a nightmare.
So this is where a feature found in many email apps, like Gmail, comes in. Instead of sending your response right away, you can schedule the time you want it to send, meaning that there’s no risk of yet another response landing until after you say so. Just try not to schedule all of your emails to go out at 4:55pm on Fridays, for the sake of your colleagues’ sanity. 

Snoozing

It won’t make it go away forever, but Outlook and Gmail both include a “Snooze” feature that will hide away an email until a time of your choosing.
"There’s no risk of accidentally stumbling on to a work email and spoiling your weekend"
It’s a great way to practise “out of sight, out of mind”, so there’s no risk of accidentally stumbling on to a work email and spoiling your weekend by reminding you what you’ve got waiting on Monday morning. 
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