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Email has quite a reputation as a productivity killer. Managing email well can help you keep your inbox clean, but wouldn’t it be great if you got less of it to begin with?

Methods that help you organize your emails 6 Ways To Reclaim Your Email Inbox 6 Ways To Reclaim Your Email Inbox Is there anything else that’s as useful, prevalent, and frustrating as an email inbox? It’s been around forever and we keep using it, and as long as we keep using it, people like me will... Read More are often designed to work on emails that have already arrived in your inbox. To minimize the amount of time you spend sifting through email, you need to stop it at its source i.e. before it hits your account. The following simple hacks can help ensure that there are fewer incoming messages for you to deal with.

Move Your Conversations Elsewhere

Conversations with friends and colleagues take up a substantial portion of your inbox as well as your time. Email topics and threads can spiral out of control at astonishing speed. It’s a good idea to move your conversations to a platform that makes chatting and collaborating with people intuitive and simpler to keep track of.

For work-related or team-based communication, set up a central platform using services like Asana, Basecamp, Huddle, etc. This drastically cuts down the number of emails appearing in your inbox and also makes for a more manageable setup. After we took the Slack route Slack Makes Group Communication Faster and Easier Slack Makes Group Communication Faster and Easier Group emails can really kill productivity. It's time to put mail clients to rest and use collaboration services like newly launched Slack. Read More here at MakeUseOf, our inboxes are behaving much better.

basecampFor communication with friends, switch to a common social network wherever you can. The private messaging feature provided by networks like Facebook, Twitter, and App.net reduces the influx of email further. With such platforms, scanning and searching for specific messages is also easier than wrangling with your inbox.

If people in your network prefer email over other forms of communication, request them to give your new method a shot. It’s likely that they will see the advantages of switching over. If they don’t, you can make an exception for some of those people and stick to email.

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Try Audio/Video Calls

Sometimes, a discussion that spans a week’s worth of emailing can be wrapped up efficiently with a 15-30 minute chat over a Skype call or a regular phone call. With such direct communication, there’s no waiting for replies, no (or little) ambiguity in communication or the subsequent need for clarification. While audio or video chats may not always be possible or go as smoothly as expected, they can prove to be time savers on many occasions, especially for time-dependent communication.

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Unsubscribe

You have heard this piece of advice many times before, but it bears repeating because your brain might be programmed to simply delete grey mail Grey Mail: The New Email Nuisance To Hit Your Inbox Grey Mail: The New Email Nuisance To Hit Your Inbox Spam has been the bane of email for a long time, but I'd be lying if I said my inbox was full of spam nowadays - it isn't. Filters and worldwide anti-spam networks cut it... Read More instead of unsubscribing from it. Newsletters and updates from services that you have signed up for are the biggest culprits responsible for flooding your inbox.

Do you really need to know of every product and every deal that is available across the Web? When you want to buy something, search the Web for discounts only then. This really helps cut down on online expenses 3 Simple Ways To Cut Down Your Online Expenses 3 Simple Ways To Cut Down Your Online Expenses Your digital life is draining your financial resources in multiple ways. Fortunately, you can put a stop to it today without resorting to drastic changes to cut down expenses. These simple tips help. Read More as you’re less tempted to buy stuff just because it comes with a discount. Updates from social networks are also a nuisance. You can forgo them without a second thought as you’ll still get relevant notifications when you log into your account.

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Be ruthless and unsubscribe from all such notifications. Use a specialized service to unsubscribe in bulk The Swizzle: Unsubscribe From Mailing Lists & Reduce Incoming Spam The Swizzle: Unsubscribe From Mailing Lists & Reduce Incoming Spam Read More . Ask to be notified only if there’s some element of security involved, say a login from a new device or a financial transaction. Sign up for email updates of a select few blogs and websites. For the rest, use RSS subscriptions and a feed reader. This enables you to read your favorite content in your own time and gives your inbox much-needed breathing space.

Bonus Tip: Declutter Daily

Even if you organize your inbox and stem the flow of incoming mail, it can fill up quickly if you let emails accumulate without processing them from time to time. A good way to ensure that your inbox continues to stay clutter free is by tackling incoming messages on a daily basis, preferably at the end of the day. For every email that comes in, delete it if it’s unimportant, star it if it requires action, and archive it if it’s important enough to save for future use.

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Take Back Your Time

As email forms a major part of work-related communication these days, it is difficult to see it as a distraction, and feels absolutely necessary at all times. Email is no doubt important, but not as much as you might be inclined to believe. It’s a sneaky time-killer — something that you can remedy with the ideas given here.

Do you have any tips that will further reduce the flow of emails to a trickle?

  1. laura
    July 9, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! Can I recommend trying Hiri -https://www.hiri.com/#gethiri - an email client that that improves productivity by reducing email overload and stress. Sorry to so blatantly plug our product, but I think we are trying to do something important and very relevant to this topic.

    Thanks, Laura (from Hiri)

  2. Promarketing.ann
    April 12, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Akshata, good ideas. Basecamp really works well for team projects, and Facebook can be good for friends.

    Unroll.me is great! (Thanks @Datruth for the reminder!) It's a painless way to unsubscribe and PREVENT a lot of non essential mail from getting into your inbox. I subscribe to a lot of emails to keep up with marketing news and sometimes needs to schedule a major divesting time.

    I put together some of my ways for doing a clean up of already received and piled up emails in a this presentation. It's not exactly a science, but it helps me feel less snowed under. http://www.slideshare.net/AnnieintheSun/how-to-clean-up-your-email-inbox

    • Akshata
      April 14, 2014 at 10:52 am

      I went through the slideshow, Ann. It has some interesting tips that our readers are sure to find useful. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Datruth
    April 11, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Been using unroll.me (free beta now) to unsubscribe from email lists. You do have to keep checking it every so often as the way unroll.me works is that it scans your inbox for signs of subscription email, and these emails come at different times/days/months, etc.

  4. Abidhusain M
    April 11, 2014 at 5:04 am

    This is the really nice articles.. I am using saparate Email account for social networking sites and separate for Banking and Financial transactions and separate for Personal use.. :)

  5. Nikolaj Knudsen
    April 11, 2014 at 5:00 am

    The way I keep my inbox clean is to have an extra email address. My ISP allows me to have 5, but this method shouldn't be a problem for anybody with all the mail services, which are around. So besides my private email I always have a secondary and I call it something like junk@mail.xx.

    I use that address for everything else than private email. Once this inbox gets cluttered, I simply delete the account and create a new one - this time called garbage@mail.xx. I do that once or twice a year. All secondary mail goes into that inbox and when I change it everything disappears.

    This way my private inbox is always tidy :-)

    • Akshata
      April 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      That's a nice trick, Nikolaj :) Thanks for sharing it.

    • Nikolaj Knudsen
      April 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      You are wellcome :-)

  6. Marte B
    April 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I've been using MailWasher Pro for many years to look at what's in multiple inboxes before I download them all at once into Eudora. It's an excellent way to get rid of the junk mail before you even see it.

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