I have 8000 emails in my in-box. How can I get organised?


Dear Aunty B,

I have 8000 emails in my in-box. How can I clean up my in-box – or better still get someone to do it for me?

Tony, Perth




Dear Tony,

Repeat after me: “Just because I have thousands of emails in my in-box doesn’t mean I am important – it means I am stupid and disorganised.”


Now Tony, it is your mess and you need to clean it up. I bet your mobile phone has run out of memory and you never bother to back up your computer either. How can you live with that chaos? It’s like having every single piece of work you’ve ever done piled up on your desk. How do you expect to find anything? It’s time to start over. The trick is to let the computer do the work for you.


Step 1
Be brave and move everything except this week’s emails in the in-box into an archive folder on your hard drive and start all over again. Keep a copy on CD for extra backup. If you can’t do it, ask anyone else in your office to help.


Step 2
Start using desktop search engines such as Google Desktop, or Copernic Desktop Search. They can find old archived emails in seconds if you need them in the future. (I can’t live without Copernic Desktop Search – it’s free and only takes a few minutes to install. It really is my filing system and address book.)


Step 3
Set up work folders so that all incoming emails are moved into the appropriate folder.

  • Folder 1: To do/reply.
  • Folder 2: Emails I need to keep sorted into relevant subcategories.
  • Folder 3: Favourites/star emails.
  • Folder 4: Finished work (to be archived).


That way the in-box is always kept clear; it’s maintained as a waiting room.


Step 4
Start being ruthless with your in-box. Set aside a minute or two every day to permanently deleting cr*ppy emails. If the in-box starts piling up again, do another dump into your archives.





What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!



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