Work2Go 2012-01: Filters
09 February 2012
At New Years you say "In with the new - Out with the old". I say "In with efficiency - out of a cluttered inbox".
By creating filters you can in fact end up with a considerably more structured inbox, without lifting a finger. Imagine the time you save by getting your incoming mail sorted into folders, completely automatically. Firstly it's not easy to find a certain email if you just keep them all in your inbox. Secondly a filled inbox can easily make you feel stressed or overwhelmed by all those emails that never seems to end. The fewer emails that I keep in my inbox, the less pressure I feel anyway. I'll now describe some examples of when it's a good idea to use filters and as always you will find information about how to follow the tips in my link list.
Get your mail sorted
Some emails are more important and more urgent than others, for example if you get alerts when orders are placed. You will probably also receive a few other emails that aren't that urgent to read at once. Email that you can wait to read at a later and more convenient time, like this newsletter maybe. It could also be a good idea to have all emails from recipients that you correspond with often placed in separate folders.
Some people use the same email address for both work related and in private messages. In that case, I would recommend you to filter out private contacts to a personal folder. And if you get a lot of calendar invitations or read receipts, it might also be nice to get them sorted into a different folder.
Mark an email as Read/with a tag/flag
For example, if you already have created a filter to sort the less urgent emails to a separate folder, you can edit the filter and add a further rule to it. A rule that also mark those incomming emails as already read when you receive them. Leave the emails for later, without feeling stressed about having so many unread emails in your account.
To avoid ending up with too many folders, you can for example collect all newsletters into one single folder, but have them marked with different tags, to easily see which newsletter comes from which sender.
Forward to another email address
If you are leaving your workplace for a short period of time and someone else will take care of your incoming emails in the meantime. You can make a filter to forward your incoming emails to one of your colleagues. You can choose to save a copy of the email in your inbox or send it directly to your colleague.
Simply tidy up your inbox as much as possible!