How to handle post-holiday mailbox deluge

Welcome back after a long holiday. I am sure an overflowing mailbox is waiting for you. Here are some simple but useful ways to get a grip on it and handle it efficiently.

  1. Mails received earlier are waiting longer. Therefore, try to start from the day after you went on leave. If you went on leave from Christmas, go to the Search box and type received>25 dec 2015
  2. Now sort the results in descending order of time and check for important mails.
  3. Look for mails which are addressed ONLY TO YOU. This is easily done by creating a special rule.
  4. Think of important customers, boss, or other high priority senders. Create a rule which highlights mails from them using a color category. Group by that category and handle these mails first.
  5. One approach is to look at unread mails only. But nowadays, we often see the mails first on a mobile phone. This marks the mail as read. In spite of that action may still be pending. Therefore Unread mails is an unreliable indicator of pending work. To avoid this confusion in the future, use the message flag when you read a mail on mobile but intend to act upon it later.
  6. Convert actionable mails to Tasks and put a deadline. DO NOT mark them with the follow up flag. Drag the mail using the right mouse button and drop it on to the Task icon. Choose the Move with Attachments option.
  7. Filter on Importance flag. Mind you, this flag is usually set by the sender. However, if it is important to the sender, there is a good chance that it is important to you as well. Type Importance: High in the Search box.
  8. Confidential mails are generally more important. Type Sensitivity: Confidential in the Search box to find such mails. There is no easy way to filter IRM protected mails. These mails are visually identifiable with this type of icon how to handle post-holiday mailbox deluge

If you use an Office 365 mailbox, use Clutter to automatically segregate less important mails. That’s it for now. Happy New Year.

Comments? Suggestions? Wish list?