Get a Better Handle on Your Inbox

Take a quick look—how many messages do you see languishing in your email inbox? If your strategies for handling email still aren’t allowing you to keep pace with the incoming barrage, use these tactics instead:

  • Create a new account. Give customers and key colleagues a separate email account they can use to contact you, and set that one to notify you of incoming messages. Use your other account for less  important contacts. Check for new messages in that inbox only once or twice each day.
  • Rank messages. Develop a subject-line subsystem among your colleagues to codify the internal messages you send one another. One organization adds “U” for urgent, “A” for action and “I” for information. Another organization ranks internal messages by priority: Recipients read Level 1 messages every day, check Level 2 messages every few days and might never read those set as Level 3.
  • Grant your assistant rights. If you have one, allow your administrative assistant to handle electronic mail the same as paper mail, deleting unimportant items and drafting your replies to routine matters.

— Adapted from “Email Is Evolving—Are You?” Leslie Stebbins, Searcher,

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