5 Rules for Keeping Your Inbox Clean

Keeping things neat and tidy around the office is one of the keys to running a productive business.  But, unfortunately, in many cases, this same sense of pride in place doesn’t seem to extend to email inboxes.  Messages pile up endlessly – especially when you get hundreds each day – and they just seem to never go away.

But really, it’s not a matter of being overrun – it’s a matter of procrastination.  With a few simple steps, it is possible to keep your inbox clean with very little additional effort on your part.  Truly, within minutes, you can set up an organization system that makes sorting email automatic and that will have you well on your way to “Inbox Zero.”

Rule #1 – Create folders

Every email client – web-based or otherwise – offers the ability to create folders.  In fact, many already come with a few folders already up and running.  Just like the folders in your filing cabinet, the folders in your email client will help you stay organized – if you let them.

To utilize folders effectively, start by creating a logical hierarchy, either on paper or in your mind.  Then, create folders to match.  As an example, a basic suggestion on how to get started would be to create folders and sub-folders for:

  • Bills/Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Urgent Action Needed
  • Personal Correspondence
    • Family
    • Colleagues
    • Hobby or entertainment related
  • Business Correspondence
    • Clients
    • Customers
    • Advertisers (media outlets etc.)
    • Employees/Employers
    • Leads (potential customers)
  • Subscriptions
    • Newsletters
    • Marketing materials
    • Motivational/educational

The next step is to actually use these folders!

Rule #2 – Create message rules

Windows Live Mail, Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail and many other email clients allow users to create message rules (and even rules within rules) in order to automatically sort incoming emails.  You can create rules that sort for specific keywords, sender’s names, sender’s domain names, subject content and more.  Then, you can choose to automatically delete these messages, mark them as spam or shuffle them off into the appropriate folder you created earlier.

You can also choose to set message flags for any of these email rules so that you never accidentally “lose” important emails in the rush.

Rule #3 – Guard your email address

Beyond setting up and utilizing folders, an important part of decreasing inbox spam is to adopt the good business habit of keeping your email address to yourself in the first place.  If you don’t give your address out, spammers won’t be able to target you.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, as just about everything you do online (and offline, more often than not) requires your email address.  However, read the fine print of any offers you sign up for carefully and look for radio button and/or check boxes that allow you to choose which information – if any – you allow third parties to send to your inbox.

You can also set up a separate email account – either locally or web-based – to use just for this purpose in order to minimize the amount of junk mail you get.

Be aware, though, that no matter how religiously you scrutinize these permissions, you’ll still get spam.  Spammers have created insidious pieces of software that will actually scour the internet for your email address or that mail out spam messages to randomly generated email addresses.  So if your personal address is listed on your Facebook account, your business’s website, your Google Places information or anything else, it will get spammed!  There’s nothing you can do about that – or is there…?

Rule #4 – Manage your subscriptions

Whoever (or whatever) is sending you email messages must offer you the option of unsubscribing from their mailing list.  If they don’t, they’re in violation of several laws (including the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act) and could be held accountable in a court of law.

Take a look at the bottom of any spam emails you receive for unsubscribing info.  This usually takes the form of a link you have to follow, or it might include instruction for replying with a certain phrase in the subject line in order to unsubscribe.

But even if you knowingly subscribed to these mailings, it’s still important to regularly update your preferences.  Think of email subscriptions as you would your closet or the junk drawer in your kitchen – if you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it.

Rule #5 – Be judicious with the delete button

The delete button is your last line of defense and first best friend when it comes to email management.  When all of these other methods fail to stop frustrating messages from appearing in your inbox, the delete button will.  It only takes a second to tap it and, even if your inbox is full to the brim, you can clear out your account in less than a minute.

Remember, if you can’t sort an incoming message into one of your folders or reply to it right away, trash it so that it doesn’t waste more of your time in the future.

By setting yourself up for success with organized folders and a neatly-pruned list of email subscriptions, keeping your inbox clean is simple – you just need to take the time to do it.  Once you train yourself to stay on top of the problem, you’ll see it doesn’t take that much effort at all to keep your inbox as neat and tidy as the rest of your office.

TrackBack URI

  • hotmail search says: 

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am going through issues with
    your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    • ZfNGXd6hEtGX says:  (@7NZ5QcrFl)

      That’s a smart way of lonkoig at the world.

    • BAbOA90E6 says:  (@zpGSEWP3t)

      RE: – I would agree with many if not all of those points, but mail in elections save money. Government needs to spend money on too many other things that politicians have thought up over the years, so they can’t afford to spend money on elections. /sarcI don’t like early voting in general. I think it was Ardell mentioning that too many things could happen on some election, and I agree. – Rate this comment: 0  0

    • 9vI0YM0W says:  (@mYKRmnXOXCz)

      martin303: Nä, jag har faktiskt inte spelat Skyrim! Tänkte vänta lite pÃ¥ att det ska sjunka i pris innan jag slÃ¥r till, sen har det bara inte blivit av pga haft sÃ¥ mycket annat att spela 😀 Men moddning, det hade vi en gästblogg om:

    • 6PflcFlQ says:  (@ykss80Brb)

      If you’re reading this, you’re all set, pardner!

    • lmKbQ8mQVX says:  (@yzhQ72tXSLO)

      As Charlie Sheen says, this article is “WINNING!”

    • gq38DfAajsvN says:  (@uRVaCUKs)

      Analyse très intéressante,mais s’il vous plait, arrêtez de dire le Hezbollah Iranien,le Hezbollah est libanais,ces membres sont libanais,il agit au Liban,peut-être aidé par l’Iran,mais sa reste un parti politique,et une résistance libanaise.

    • nAn7zYUbH says:  (@YgODzY5v4)

      Legitimate Uggs Selling UK on line,all of our Reliable Uggs Profit England happen to be reduction ugg boots,invest in much of our low cost ugg boots have fun with Free Shipping

    • TXSrVTmrC says:  (@5Qx9KuIHpuKN)

      Hæææ!!Er det første søndag i advent i overimorgen!!!Jøsses som tiden gÃ¥r…Fint jeg har vasket vinduer da:-))…(ikke hvert Ã¥r jeg gjør det:-)Da er det bare Ã¥ finne frem kransen…pynte den…tenne lys…& nyyyte… Trenger vel ikke akkurat Ã¥ være advent for at vi skal gjøre det..thi..hi..Nyyyydelige bilder du "serverer"..Suuuperduuuperdeilig dag & Stooor Klem fra Randi..Sees til uka eller?

    • EbYF8BXq says:  (@X1RE8ydNdoQ)

      to keep up to date and current, the life in the fast lane team have been trying out a couple of sexy WP Plugins from the Eazy Cheezy Website. We are trying to increase the page load speed, whilst maximising the

    • h7vhqThe says:  (@LZWuqHW4)

      The same thing happened to me. They couldn’t see anything & then thought it was an ectopic pregnancy or chemical pregnancy. I got the blood work done & my hCG levels were 86. I got so worried and started stressing. Two weeks later I got an ultrasound and they could finally see the baby (: Don’t stress girl, everything will work out =] Keep your head up & pray (: I’m 14 weeks now & find out in 2 weeks the sex. Good luck girl, I’ll keep you in my prayers & hope you have a happy & healthy 9 months!

    • 65bDeNIbxY says:  (@ugW2h09jm)

      Lynda, awesome trick! I think I’ll try that next time: “Let’s see how fast you can run to put on your shoes!” And yes, it doesn’t make you feel like the bad parent, always saying no.Oh and Lynda, I just tried commenting on your blog but am having trouble. I think this happens with blogger sites; sometimes I’m able to comment other times it won’t let me. But just wanted to let you know!Nina recently posted..

    • Fh69xKy7FOND says:  (@69kHpXCR)

      Sunt superbe produsele dumneavoastra. Dau un aspect deosebit apartamentului. Sunt produse de calitate, au un design diversificat si sunt pe gusturile oricarui client.Hot debate. What do you think? 5  3

    • t2uo3bPmV says:  (@XU0w5EG3)

      Vilket gott bröd!!!! Jag tillsatte även lite brödkrydda som jag tycker ger en god smak. Detta kommer jag baka igen…mÃ¥nga gÃ¥nger! Tack för receptet!

    • SfQSLGrwrJ8s says:  (@dQIhxtBRdO)

      Jag har mina oljor och vinägrar i en gammal spiklÃ¥da. Otroligt praktiskt… och snyggt:)Kram Eva-Mari som verkligen hoppas att du inte dör i morgon!!!!

    • eV0uplDC7 says:  (@4gMZMFENcgfr)

      GreatEmerald / August 7, 2009Wow, this page is really outdated… ISA? I’ve never even heard about a slot like that, neither have I heard about video cards in regular PCI slots… AGP are now outdated, too, PCI Express is what video cards use, and unfortunately there’s no mention about them here… Though their installation is the same as described here with other slots.Reply

    • B4Bigb5p says:  (@7RlmmwGz)

      That’s a smart way of looking at the world.

    • 3K4ktwUUYd says:  (@4ZTojCzS)

      I’m really into it, thanks for this great stuff!

  • says: 

    Hi Dear, are you truly visiting this website on a regular basis, if so afterward you will absolutely take good experience.

  • as the world turns soap opera says: 

    Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your
    blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  • particulier says: 

    Ici Adrienne
    Je suis agée de quarante-trois années .
    Mon occupation principale, éleveuse . il apparaît que je suis un drole d’oiseau.

  • says: 

    Wonderful work! That is the type of information that should be
    shared across the web. Disgrace on Google for no longer positioning this post higher!
    Come on over and discuss with my web site . Thanks =)

  • norske spilleautomater says: 

    This is one with the best bets in the casino,
    with a house edge of only 1. When fully opened, City of Dreams offer approximately 2,200 guest rooms and a
    wide variety of restaurants, bars, and entertainment.
    Playing a slot machine is extremely fun especially when you win.
    Most gaming managers rise in their careers by starting as card dealers,
    croupiers, servers along with other entry-level positions in casinos.

  • norsk automater says: 

    Rubber dome switches are fine for most users, but they have got a squishy, vague feel that some typists don’t like. Also, winners are selected randomly, which leaves no chance for any fraud. Slot machines with computerized features attract today’s youngsters easily.
    Of course all from the models was included with built-in Wi-Fi, USB ports, SD card slots,
    VGA output, Ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks, a webcam, plus much more.

  • spilleautomater says: 

    Etter norske spilleautomater mega og use of.
    Hadde rundspilte casa til canariaøyvind de populære fruktautomaten Norske Spilleautomatere fra automaten Norske Spilleautomater konkurrerer ifall.
    Minimumsinnskudd såsom automater villig nett kan deglaere mer med hensyn tillsammans fem gevinstlinjer.
    Minimumsinnskudd som kan andre casinospill låg
    dvärg fortalt spillet velger du din mega gyckelmakare 6000 symboler.

  • maison ossature bois haute savoie says: 

    Je suis vieille de quarante et un piges .
    Mes parents m’ont appellée Renée et j’aime beaucoup ce prénom.

    Mon boulot: aide soignante … il apparaît que je suis attentionnée.

  • billet d avion pour la france Pas cher says: 

    Bonjour, Je suis une femme de trente-cinq berges j’assume totalement mon age !
    Je me nomme Lucille.
    je suis en ce moment des études de journaliste . Il est dit régulièrement de moi que je parais une bonne poire.

  • Zebra Print Rugs says: 

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a
    lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.

    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home
    a little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog.

    A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  • billet d avion le moin cher pour le maroc says: 

    Bonjour, Je souffle mes trente-neuf bougies dans un mois .

    Ici Fantina
    Mon boulot, relieuse . Mon caractère est plutôt réservé.

  • says: 

    ça roule ? Ici Cerise
    Je suis une jeune de 30 berges !
    Mon travail accompagnatrice de tourisme ! Je suis plutôt d’un caractère timide.

  • lame de terrasse composite pas cher says: 

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this web site.

  • spilleautomater på nett says: 

    Donec ut justo har v

  • says: 

    Howdy! This blog post could not be written much better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I’ll forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  • norske spilleautomater says: 

    Det vil fortsette sier blir en kamp mellom et av selskaper som skal s

  • virgin river hotel and casino says: 

    Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would
    really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your
    theme. Bless you

  • electronic slots says: 

    Remarkable issues here. I’m very glad to see your article.
    Thank you so much and I am taking a look ahead to touch you.
    Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  • online slots says: 

    Greetings! I’ve been following your site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out
    from Dallas Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the great job!

  • Web Site says: 

    As reported in the Journal Phytotherapy Research, a
    study conducted by researchers from the Institute of Medicinal
    Plants in Teheran seemed to indicate beneficial effects of silymarin
    for Type 2 diabetics. Well, this program is a home run in my
    eyes and it has delivered for me (18 months and counting
    without a cold sore). Surgery took place
    at a mean of 27 age subsequently diagnosis.

    • Jsv2PsWlEy4 says:  (@AS71F6HUtMN)

      I was so confused about what to buy, but this makes it undnestardable.

    • SdOE7YSijl1Q says:  (@qDwkPyZH)

      Du har vist gjort det helt korrekt, lyder det til. Godt du siger det, jeg har lige ændre en pixismule i opskriften, så den er nemmere at forstå nu :) Jeg er normalt heller ikke så vild med pebernødder, synes de godt kan være lidt kedelige, men ikke denne version, dem er jeg også selv vilde med :)

    • BY1SrQLI says:  (@dfclqjKXeiK)

      pokračovanie…ÄŒo sa týka významu Å¡peciálnych pomôcok, ktoré sa využívajú pri výchove a vzdelávaní telesne postihnutých, chorých a zdravotne oslabených detí, ich význam sa v podstate nelíši od významu učebných pomôcok, keďže podobne ako učebné pomôcky nám pomáhajú dosahovaÅ¥ stanovené ciele, vyplýva z toho fakt, že každá jedna pomôcka prispôsobená potrebám postihnutého, chorého alebo zdravotne oslabeného dieÅ¥aÅ¥a slúžia ako Å¡peciálna pomôcka, ak prispieva k zlepÅ¡eniu jeho zdravotného stavu.Použitá literatúra:HabÅ¡udová, M. – Å peciálne pomôcky

    • BcmXvtqghTxs says:  (@nvJTEAJCNwGH)

      Hi Andrew,Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Which script are you referencing, Data Feed To RSS or WP Data Feed Import? As for whether I’ll be writing plugins for other blog platforms, no. The focus is on WordPress or datafeeds and RSS in general.~ Teli

    • B4ONyD20 says:  (@A2EAGaelyv)

      Now THERE’s a fact that’s not advertised often (from your second link): Iran has the largest Jewish population of any Middle East country besides Israel. And what’s more, “Iran’s Jews love their Iranian identity and their culture.”So, I wonder if this money Israel is throwing at Iranian Jews is part of the in financial aid the US gives to Israel? Nice to see money well spent, huh?

    • pYfQ1K8iqEZ2 says:  (@3FToQOfRf6)

      I couldn’t have asked for a much better blog. You are ever present to present excellent tips, going right to the point for quick understanding of your readership. You’re undeniably a terrific specialist in this subject. Thanks a ton for always being there for people like me.

    • kZmg2HPRHb says:  (@ddr2kAnQ4M)

      Your baby blankets look absolutely adorable. I love how they are unisex so You can save it for the next baby or pass it down to family and friends. I have a seven month old son named Oliver who would love to snuggle up in the yellow/grey blanket.

    • TvSi6uqn says:  (@ZNYdxBpur)

      eu una incerc sa fac cadouri care stiu ca i-ar face fericiti, indiferent daca imi plac mie sau nu, sau daca sunt posesiuni materiale sau nu.imi place sa daruiesc lucruri facute de mana mea, dar nu se potriveste in toate cazurile asa ca apelez si la magazine. de exemplu iubitului o sa ii cumpar un card pentru telefon pentru ca are nevoie si vad eu ce mai adaug sa-l fac mai distractiv. Parintilor nu prea pot sa le iau cadouri de genul celor propuse de tine pentru simplul motiv ca in orasul unde locuiesc nu as avea de unde sau unde sa ii duc…

    • 0E1yLwr47q7o says:  (@PlQjhnZRD)

      Davi disse:olá amigo, atualizei meu Iphone 3GS para iOS 6.0 mas agora o mesmo não reinicia, detalhe é que não tinha Jailbreak. Tentei restaurar através do iTunes mas bem no finalzinho da restauração qdo está verificando o firmware dá um erro (-1) e não termina a restauração. Vc pode me ajudar? Obrigado 1  0

    • 7Qcff8pO says:  (@FAaQVboturSn)

      A $5,651 per capita income, a population densityPretty meaningless. That's just the white-created, white-owned and white-maintained wealth statistically divided by the number of Namibian inhabitants. A Gini of over 70 pretty much tells the whole story. (That's unimaginable inequality, few other countries ever get over 60; Brazil, with all its massive disparities, hovers around 50.)Silver

    • PGkKEYeQZYTB says:  (@ZpEXzhRG)

      Sure you can go through a proxy server if you can. This kind of works even on public wifi where you don’t have a proxy, or external proxy servers are locked down.

    • MXLglEDdWDjz says:  (@AaTxANAZcGq)

      Woman of Alien…Excellent work you have finished, this site is absolutely interesting with wonderful data. Time is God’s way of trying to keep every little thing from going on without delay….

    • E8FSgqhq says:  (@LHrbsKQE)

      While I do not want to get into specifics of which action favoured which attorneys, I have a positive aspect to report.For the last few years, we too were used to seeing copy pasted Indian FERs, recently our team was issued with a FER that an excellent rationale connecting the various prior arts cited. While some of them were connected with the earlier WO ISR, we were pleasantly surprised with the analysis of the Examiner. On the negative side, this will mean that we will have a much higher burden to cross over for getting that patent to grant.Freq. Anon.

    • pNB4lgWkBpBA says:  (@NsvB8MlL)

      I can’t believe you’re not playing with me–that was so helpful.

    • aM4K7LPT7Pto says:  (@drxeb8cWnlu)

      WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS! It is time we use our American ingenuity and find other options then dirty oil. It’s not about saving the planet – it’s about working together to save the humans. We are smart enough to do it…but is the minority too greedy?!

    • EF25fXxxQ94q says:  (@PjdE3f0ZL)

      The Ships’s Voyages…I believe technology just can make it even worse. Now there is a channel to never treatment, now there is not going to be considered a opportunity for them to discover….

    • NCwJW0OkNf says:  (@fIHsSARHElR)

      WoW!! I really feel like I’ve enjoyed another holiday, you make me feel as if I was there, it has been great to read and I thank you for allowing me into your holiday..Mally :O)

  • acheter louboutin pas cher says: 

    I am actually thankful to the owner of this web page who has
    shared this impressive paragraph at here.

    acheter louboutin pas cher

  • Brands says:  (@Brands)

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so here i am!.I am trying to find things to improve my blog!Is it ok if i use some of the things i saw here?!


Comments are now closed for this article.


Yast is a software company that builds easy-to-use, but powerful software. It's easy to make things complex; it’s incredibly hard to make things easy.

Read More …

Some Yast loving

Yast has to be the easiest to use time tracker, period. Keep up the great work! Glenn Murray - Divine Write

Read more love...