Put Your E-mail Inbox on a Diet

Is your e-mail inbox exploding or at the breaking point? Put your inbox on a diet! Here are some tips on keeping your e-mail inbox slim and trim.

1. Unsubscribe from mailing lists. Unsubscribe from lists you are no longer interested in or haven't read recently. Alternatively, some mailing lists let you change or edit e-mail settings so you can receive updates as you choose instead of every day (once a week or once a month) or even change the types of e-mails you receive (special promotions of products you love vs. products you are not interested in). You can also sign up for an online RSS reader to read updates from websites and blogs at your leisure, instead of having them clog your inbox.

2. Save attachments to your computer. Instead of keeping e-mails with large attachments in your inbox (which take up valuable storage space), download trusted attachments to your computer. Be sure to double-check that the attachments are safe and are from a trusted source.

3. Clear out clutter and junk. Delete items from your inbox that you no longer want or need. Sort e-mails by sender when deleting messages instead of by date; it's easier to focus on one sender at a time versus different senders, subjects and dates. While you're at it, you might want to free up space in your e-mail program by deleting items in your spam or junk box, sent box and deleted or trash box.

4. Think twice about writing an e-mail. Save yourself from generating unnecessary e-mails. Can your question be quickly answered by a phone call or an in-person query? Likewise, if someone asks you a question via e-mail or if you are engaged in an e-mail exchange that becomes too complicated, simply pick up the phone.

5. Start a cleaning regimen. Remember, you don't have clean out your entire inbox at once; set aside a couple of minutes each day to work on the clean-up process. Just five minutes each day adds up to 35 minutes in one week! Get into the habit of deleting items you no longer need or want as soon as you are done with them so you won't have a backlog of messages.

Rashelle Isip is a blogger, time management and productivity consultant and professional organizer. She is founder of The Order Expert, a website featuring practical and creative organizing, time management, productivity tips, inspiration and much more. For more information visit: www.theorderexpert.com.

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