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Tips For Wrangling Your E-mail Inbox

Jun 25, 2008
It's so easy to get bogged down by all the little day-to-day details in this busy and technological world. You can receive your bills now by U.S. Postal Service and e-mail, you can shop online, you can drive through to get your coffee (instead of actually getting out of your car), and you can even supposedly exercise with the help of a video game. But even though these many "conveniences" have been created to make our lives easier, it seems the more supposedly efficient our world is made, the crazier the world out there becomes. At some point all the information that feels like it is coming at you faster than you can handle gets overwhelming and you throw your hands up in exasperation. Case in point: the never-ending e-mail inbox.

Signing up for all those e-mail newsletters and e-bills seemed like a great idea at the time. Keep abreast of all the important issues, hear about the happenings at your favorite wine bar, who got eliminated on Top Chef last night, how much you owe the people who actually own your car (and when it's due). It even seemed smart when you entered that win a Mercedes Benz sweepstakes at the fair last summer and thought you might only get a little bit of extra junk mail which would be worth it if you received it while you were out driving your new free car. Well, you learned nothing is really free huh?

That junk mail along with what seems like a million other bits of mail pour into your inbox every day and it never stops. Ever. How do you handle it?

One thing I like to do is set aside a little time each day to go through them. Get a cup of coffee or beverage of choice and just speed through those things until your done. I find that I have to respond to e-mails right after I read them or they lose their sense of urgency. Plus they are then marked "read" and if I attempt to go back to my email later and answer them, they can easily get overlooked.

So if you are not going to answer e-mail right away, make sure you mark anything that needs to be looked at again later and taken care f as "unread" that way you will trick yourself into thinking you haven't read it at all ad will still feel obliged to answer even that 2nd time you have opened that letter.

Organized folders are key. Now all of the above means nothing if you have nowhere to put anything. It is like trying to sort out and get rid of a junk drawer. We all have one and there is a reason- everything that has nowhere to go needs to go somewhere. But over time, things end up in there that don't really belong in there because you don't make the effort to put them where they belong. E-mail is the same. If you don't put every piece of e-mail where it belongs, your inbox turns into one big junk drawer. So make sure everything has somewhere to go (which does include the trash can) and when you get to stuff that doesn't, well put those things all together in something like a miscellaneous folder.

So take the time to get organized, and stay organized. A little time each day allows you to tame the e-mail inbox beast and keeps you connected and sane in this crazy little world.
About the Author
Chris McCombs is a fitness marketing expert. You can learn more tips for managing and marketing your business at http://www.kickbacklife.com/
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