Hillary Chybinski: How-To | Tackle Your Inbox

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How-To | Tackle Your Inbox

Are you overwhelmed when you log-on in the morning? Do you have multiple e-mail accounts? Do you have FOMO (fear of missing out)?

All three of these things can lead to email anxiety. . .logging into your account and seeing 73 new messages can be an overwhelming way to start the day.

How do you tame it?  You may have heard of  Taming the Paper Tiger. . .books, websites, CDs and more devoted to getting your life on paper organized. 

But this is the digital age - right? How do we get through ALL that email?  Here are tips I've found to make it easier:
  • Consider consolidating to one email account (or one work and one personal)
  • Instead of multiple accounts, create folders within your inbox.  Do you need a Read Later, Action Items, Funny list? How about one by project?  Whatever works for you. 
  • Treat your email as you would any other mail - try to "touch" it only once.   Open it, read it, take action - can it be deleted? DELETE.  Do you need to take action? Add the item to your to-do list, then file the email in your Inbox or a folder called "Action Items". . .and so on. 
  •  If you are easily distracted, set specific times to check email and stick to it.
  • Pick a time and delete the old stuff.  Not only does this make more room and clear the clutter, but it makes your system work more efficiently.  On the first of the month, I delete ALL sent emails that are more than a month old (and haven't been filed in a separate folder) and then I "for real" delete all my deleted mail that is older than 1 month.
When I ignore the tips I listed above, my inbox grows and overwhelms me.  But when I'm on my game, following my own advice - email is a quick part of my day.

I'd love it if you would leave some tips on how you tame your email tiger.

catch you soon -


  1. Love it. I'm all about working through my inbox. I definitely to the touch it once philosophy, and it's made a huge difference. The other thing I love the the ability to set rules now where email will automatically delete for you (e.g., GroupOns over 2 days old). I love that - it saves me a ton of effort!

  2. I've been doing this every day. The delete button used to scare me, but now I realize saving emails makes for more clutter and wastes more time. Great tips!