How to Take Control of E-Mail and Implement a System for Tracking and Organization

Technique #19: Implement Strategies to Help You Control E-Mail, Implement a System to Keep Track of It All, and Eliminate the Vast Quantity of Messages in Your Inbox

E-mail—the once-novel idea that has become the beast that buries so many of us on a daily basis. The people I advise often ask me how to take control of e-mail, devise a system to keep track of it all, and eliminate the vast quantity of messages in the inbox. In this chapter, I will provide you with several simple and quick-to-implement techniques. While these methods may not take your inbox down to zero items—a goal I find to be unrealistic for most—they will help you stay on top of e-mail daily, implement a solid follow-up process, and assist with organizing, filing, and retrieving e-mails that you need to keep.

You can implement many of these techniques using the e-mail program of your choice. However, the topics for which I’ve provided specific steps have been documented using Microsoft Outlook 2010.

Maybe you’ve heard it said, “Never check e-mail in the morning.” I don’t agree with this proposition. While it may work for some, it does not for most. Why? Because many people’s jobs require them to spend a good portion of their day on e-mail. I also do not subscribe to the theory that you should check e-mail only two or three times a day. Only you can determine how often you should check, based on your job function. However, I’ve ...

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