Email tends to accumulate day after day, especially for people who receive a high volume of messages. Email needs vary depending on the types of messages you receive and the purpose of the email account. Some people receive only personal emails, others receive only business messages, and other people receive a combination of both. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by emails, institute an effective organizational system. The system used will depend on individual needs and whether you are maintaining separate or combined accounts for business and personal use.
Basic Organizational Tools
Instead of allowing emails to gather in a general inbox, folders can help with the organization of messages. Open your email and select "new folder" in the organizational area to create a folder. Name the folder with a name that describes the emails that it will hold. For example, if you regularly get emails with shopping discounts, you might create a folder named "discounts" to hold these emails. Save the folder to finish. Numerous options for folder organization exist. You might make a folder for emails that need a reply and for emails that require an action. You might create folders for different accounts, from specific people, or for emails that you want to read at a future time. Spam filters in an email program will help filter out junk emails with little value. Check the junk folder periodically to ensure that desired emails don't land in this folder by mistake. When unwanted emails arrive in a general inbox or other folder, train the email program to designate these emails as spam by moving them to the junk folder or flagging them as spam.
Tips for Organizing a Business Email Account
Maintaining a business email account requires attention to detail. Important messages usually arrive daily that require action or responses. Regular checking of email ensures that an inbox remains organized and manageable. Emails need ongoing attention, but they can be distracting. For this reason, many professionals only check business email at certain times of the day, such as morning, midday, and at the end of the day.
Instituting a comprehensive system for organizing and maintaining business emails ensures that you will be able to meet deadlines, save information for later retrieval, and answer messages in a timely fashion. Folders and subfolders will assist with the sorting of emails. Create "rules" within the email program to automatically sort emails into various folders depending on the subject or the sender. A flagging system will enable you to flag certain emails that pertain to actions you must take by a specific date. These tasks can be sent into a separate task or to-do list for future followup to ensure that you complete this work. After completion, you mark the task as done and the flag can be set to disappear from the email as well. You can also sort the entries in your contact list to keep track of information for people you need to email frequently or less frequently.
Tips for Organizing a Personal Email Account
Maintaining a personal email account has many similarities to maintaining a business account; however, the volume and importance of the messages may be less. Folders will still help with organization of the arriving emails, and making rules for automatic sorting will help maintain order in the account. Many people don't have need of flagging and tagging emails in a personal email account, but this system could still assist with scheduling of a busy lifestyle. And regardless of the purpose of an email account, spam is inevitable, so flagging messages as spam will be a necessary function.
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Using an Email Account for Both Business and Personal Communication
It is possible to maintain one email account for both business and personal use, but careful organization is crucial to the success of this type of system. Creating one folder for business and a second folder for personal messages will be the first organizational step. From here, create subfolders within each folder to hold groups of emails. Create rules in the email program to automatically sort emails into each subfolder. You can also create different signatures to use on different outgoing emails, depending on whether they are personal or professional in nature.
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Added by Gary Taylor