June 06, 2017
EMAIL AND TECHNOLOGY
While spring cleaning may have some people rifling through their closets, amassing boxes of donations or hand-me-downs, today’s digital age provides a new opportunity when you have the itch to organize. Even the most private email can get just as clogged and crowded as our clothes drawers. Nearly everything is done via email now — work, personal communication, shopping receipts, bill pay — so the sheer volume of emails we get on a daily basis can be easily overwhelming.
You can use some of your spring-cleaning strategies to also keep your email organized.
Just about any email program offers a folders function, so take advantage of it! First, think about some of the main categories your emails fall into, such as Work, Family, and Promotions, and use those as your primary folders. Each can then be broken down into subcategories; for your Work folder, you could further divide it into deadline-based subfolders, like Upcoming, In Progress and Completed.
Having a system in place is only beneficial if you use it. Once you have your folder structure set up, spend some time sorting and archiving messages that you want to save. Then, try to hold yourself to a routine for filing new messages. You may want to sort a message into its respective subfolder as soon as you read it, or if that’s too immediate, commit to a timeframe for going through your emails, such as every Friday or once a month.
And, just like with spring cleaning, be realistic about hitting that delete button. Set down some basic criteria, such as accounts payable messages should be saved for one year, work-related emails for six months and personal for one month. Think creatively about the messages you’re hesitant to part with. If you think you’ll need the person’s contact info, make sure it’s stored in your email system’s address book and then send it to the trashcan. Or if you’re feeling sentimental about personal emails with friends and family, save them all to a flashdrive or disk to clear out your system.
Email is a now a natural and necessary part of our everyday lives, which is why we need to not only know how to use it, but also how to manage it.
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