5 ways to keep your email manageable

A well-kept inbox is just as important as an organized desk or a highly maintained calendar. It’s all about saving precious time, so meet the delete.

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Imagine that you get into work, and your cell phone starts to ring. It’s your manager, and she urgently needs you to send an email chain from three weeks ago that has pertinent information related to a decision that needs to be made immediately.

She’s boarding a plane, so you have three minutes to find the email. You look at your inbox, and there are 2,673 emails, and you can’t recall the title or original sender of the email thread. After several minutes of aimlessly searching, you start getting texts from your boss: “They’re about to close the gate. Did you find the email?”

Then, bingo, you find it. You go to hit “send,” and a message from Outlook states your inbox is full and you cannot send anything until you clear some space.

That almost never happens to me. Like the fanatically sparse office desk, a well-pruned email account is my version of having a sense of peace and order at work. It’s my own personal productivity-boosting oasis that gives me a sense of comfort and clarity whether I am in an important meeting or just casually chatting with colleagues.

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