Find more time in your day, Tip #3: automatically sort your messages as they arrive
Most of the email reading tools I’m familiar with (such as gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird, MacMail) have an option to “pre-sort” the messages you receive. Different tools call the feature different names (for example, rules or filters) and the result is the same. You use an email address or specific words to tell the software what to do with your messages as they arrive. Yes, it takes a few minutes to set up AND it is a great time saver.
In gmail, you can actually set up the filters as you’re reading the message (one of the many reasons I now use gmail for all my email!).
When you automatically sort specific messages (whether by a person, a topic or a priority level), you save yourself as much as 30 minutes a day (depending on how many messages you receive).
- Create folders (if you haven’t already) for automatically sorting your messages as they arrive (You can use the same ones you created in Tip #2 or, if your software allows it, create them as you come to messages to sort automatically)
- Make a list of the message subjects and senders you want to automatically sort (you can always add to the list later)
- Check YouTube or do a web search on how to automatically filter/sort for the software you are using
- Set up as many filters as you can now
- Create a document with your filters/rules so you can look at and refine, if necessary, the rules you’ve created
- FollowTip #1: read your email at specific times for managing your inbox