Reclaim your inbox!

Reclaim your inbox!

Let’s face it. We all get a lot of email these days. If you feel like your email has become something of a gate crashed party what with all the viagara, enlarged penises and over-friendly Nigerians, you may well benefit from a few tips on how to get on top of your inbox again. So here’s some top tips…


When I discovered rules they became my best friend, yet I am still astounded by how few people know about them or use them (yet they’ll happily bemoan how many emails they get and how they just can’t seem to get on top of them!).

A rule is an action that Microsoft Office Outlook takes automatically on an arriving or sent message that meets the conditions that you specify in the rule. You can choose many conditions and actions by using the Rules and Alerts Wizard. Rules do not operate on message that have been read, only on those that are unread.

To get started with rules, simply right click on any email you would like to start categorising because perhaps you regularly get newsletters from that person which you will read…but later!!! Or because you work across several jobs or projects and you want to dedicate chunks of your time to one job or project. Filing them off them coming back to them in one hit later is effective time management.

Once you right click you will see an option called ‘Create Rule’. The rest is simple. Set your conditions i.e. whether if the message comes from a certain person, or with a certain header, what action you would like to take. I usually opt to move them to a specified folder so I can come back, as I suggested and chunk my time.

Rules fall into one of two general categories: organization and notification. The Rules and Alerts Wizard contains templates for the most commonly used rules.

Junk email filter

The Junk E-mail Filter in Microsoft Office Outlook is designed to catch the most obvious spam and send it to your Junk E-mail folder. But you can adjust it to suit your needs (and adjusting it will certainly help reclaim your inbox too). The Junk E-mail Filter evaluates each incoming message based on several factors, including the time when the message was sent and the content of the message. The filter does not single out any particular sender or message type, but instead analyzes each message based on its content and structure to discover whether or not it is probably spam. The Junk E-mail Filter is turned on by default, and the protection level is set to low. This level is designed to catch the most obvious spam. You can make the filter more aggressive by changing the level of protection. Also, the Junk E-mail Filter can be updated periodically to protect against the latest techniques that spammers use to spam your Inbox. Any message that is caught by the Junk E-mail Filter is moved to a special Junk E-mailfolder. It is a good idea to review the messages in the Junk E-mail folder from time to time to make sure that they are not legitimate messages that you want to see. If they are legitimate, you can move them back to the Inbox by

* Safe Senders List
* Safe Recipients List
* Blocked Senders List
* International – Blocked Top-Level Domains List
* International – Blocked Encodings List function go(url)

Sort by email size
– Another top trick of mine is to click on the top bar above ‘email size’ and sort all your emails by file size. Locate the biggest sized emails and then if they are no longer required, delete them as they are taking up valuable space and quite possibly slowing your email system’s perform down.Sort by name – Similarly to above, sort by name. It may be that you had a lot of communication with a particular person some time ago, but that this project/dialogue has long since passed. You could choose to either delete all emails here and again buy back some valuable space in your inbox OR, file it to a folder.

Delete the deleted items + junk regularly
– a lot of people presume that once they hit delete, their email is permanently deleted forever. Not so! You also need to regularly locate the folder called ‘deleted items’ and the ‘junk mail’ and highlight and delete all unwanted items in there. I have known clients to have 1400 emails sitting in their deleted items and then wonder why their email system was no longer working!

Unsubscribe! – Finally it’s such an obvious one, and something we’re all guilty of, but if you have signed up willy nilly to websites that you no longer find benefit in hearing from, be diligent and unsubscribe. In line with CAN SPAM laws, they MUST COMPLY with your request to unsubscribe. If they do not, you have every right to report them.

Happy spring cleaning on your inbox!