Keep your Email Inbox under Control



Keep your Email Inbox Under ControlWhen working from a home office, as in the case with many Internet marketers, there can be a lot of distractions that eat into your productivity. Some are external to our line of work such as friends and family.  Yet others, in my opinion the more dangerous types, stem from the Internet – social media and email.


Today we look at the email inbox. A cluttered inbox means that you still have to take some action, and the more actions you have to take, the less time you have at your disposal to do creative work.  To keep your email inbox under control is essential to be more productive.


Kristi Hines is a freelance writer and blogger. Her personal blog is called Kikolani. Kristi has the following suggestions on how to keep a clean inbox. Read more at Kissmetrics.


1. Turn off unnecessary notifications.


Whenever you sign up for a new social network, forum, or other website, chances are you are going to be opt-in automatically to notification emails from that website. Be sure that when you sign up to a new website, you find your email notification settings and turn off the ones you do not need. Otherwise, you’ll have new emails for friend requests, new messages, offers, products, and a whole slew of other things you may not need bombarding your inbox.


Some popular networks’ email notification settings pages include the following. You’ll need to be logged in for these to work.



Another area where you might get a lot of emails is from blog commenting. For blogs using third-party commenting systems, you can change your notification settings globally by going to the following.


For commenting on other blogs using the base comment system, look for checkboxes before the submit button asking if you want to subscribe to comments. Sometimes these are automatically checked, especially if you have subscribed to comments from a previous post.


2. Filter anything you will not need to respond to immediately.


This is huge when it comes to keeping your inbox at a neat, manageable level. If it is an email you will not need to take an immediate action on, be sure to filter it. This includes:


  • Any notifications from social networks, forums, or other websites you have signed up for which you want to receive.
  • Comment reply notifications from blogs.
  • Newsletters or mailing lists.
  • Casual acquaintances (who 90% of the time only send you FW: emails).


Really, you can filter almost everyone and just keep an eye on the folders you filter them to, that way your inbox is only prioritizing new people that you might have to respond to the fastest. Some general filters that work well include the following.


  • Create blog commenting filters with New Comment on, Your comment on the post, and There is a new comment to in the subject line. Send them all to a folder named Comment Replies.
  • Create social media filters with,,, and in the senders or from field. Send them all to a folder for that particular network.
  • Getting a lot of emails from PR people without an option to unsubscribe? Create a PR People folder and start filtering each one as they come through to that folder.
  • Filter clients into their own folder using their email address in the senders or from field.


One perk to Gmail over other email programs is that you can create a filter that will label specific emails but not automatically send them to the folders. That way, they will show up in your inbox so you can take action on them, then you can just easily click archive to move them to their folder for future reference. That way if the same person is always emailing you, you don’t have to keep scrolling through your labels / folders each time to organize their emails.


3. Unsubscribe to anything you’re not reading, don’t intent to read, or didn’t opt-in to immediately.


It sometimes feels faster to just delete something every time it hits your inbox. And, per email, it is. But if you are regularly deleting something without reading it, do you really want to continue letting it hit your inbox? Worse, do you want to stay subscribed to something you didn’t intentionally want to opt-in to in the first place?


Each time I get an email from someone I don’t recognize, I look for an unsubscribe or opt-out link on the email. You’ll usually find those links at the top or bottom of the email, especially ones that are in newsletter format or are from PR companies. It usually doesn’t take too long to unsubscribe, and it’s worth it not to have the next email from that list alerting your via your inbox notifications.


And for those particular nasty emailers who don’t have an unsubscribe link on their newsletters, I tend to mark them as spam and then create a filter to skip the inbox and delete them. This also goes for sites that make you try to login to an account that you don’t even remember creating to get to the unsubscribe option. It seems harsh, yet it’s the fastest way to go about things because you don’t want to spend all day trying to hunt someone down to remove you from their list.


I have found that most newbie Internet marketers are guilty of the last item and subscribe to far too many lists.  It sure is a good way to learn from other marketers, but it can be overwhelming and takes up a lot of time even to superficially scan through everything.  One can also easily get sidetracked by all the “shiny objects” that other marketers tempt you with.


So, free up more time – keep your email inbox under control!


To your productivity


Deon and Johan Reynders





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