Tricks for dealing with email overload

Karina Keith

Ah, productivity hacks for email! Everyone seems to be writing about them. In fact, they’ve become such a popular topic we decided to creep the …

Business cartoon about too many emails.Ah, productivity hacks for email! Everyone seems to be writing about them. In fact, they’ve become such a popular topic we decided to creep the web for the best blogs on email productivity hacks. The usual tips like turning off the ping and email alerts have been talked about to death, so we went in search of more original ideas. Have a look and share any one’s you’d like to add in the comments section.


Top 10 Tricks for Dealing With Email Overload has some great tips to help manage the mountain of growing email. The one that I like best is their number 1 tip: Triage your email to an empty inbox. They suggest you triage your email into 3 folders:

  1. Follow-up (needs response or action)
  2. Archive (delete)
  3. Hold (Waiting)

Another great tip from Lifehacker is: Learn to use the search function. This one seems obvious to me, but there are still lots of people who don’t take advantage of this. They recommend ‘When it comes time to find that old email, don’t go clicking through folders, use advanced search operators in conjunction with good filters to find what you’re looking for.”


How to Manage Email Overload — Get Organised in 21 Days

Here’s some fresh ideas from Most of the concepts work for all email clients. Keep in mind the author notes that the instructions are based on Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, although if you use a different provider, I didn’t see any tips that wouldn’t apply.

  • Delete all emails in your inbox except the most recent 300 emails (an estimated 4 days worth of emails for the typical exec). If it was truly important the sender would have been in touch to follow up.
  • In part 2 of the article, they suggest using your calendar to prioritize and plan the work you have to do that you identified when processing your email.

There are some really different and interesting ideas in this article, with detail on how to implement the actions. It’s definitely worth a look.


How to deal with email overload reviews how’s ceo Tony Hsieh handles his email, and it’s called the ‘Yesterbox’. An interesting idea for sure.

The Yesterbox, simply means “stop focusing on email received today, except when urgent, and instead try to deal with everything that came in yesterday”. The theory goes that the number of emails you received yesterday is fixed, which gets you off the email treadmill. Hsieh says that once his review of yesterday’s email is complete “there is a sense of completion when you’re done, which is amazing.”

There are loads of email tips out there. What works for you?

Any unique approaches that you use to handle emails. Thanks for reading don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph. And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your business efficiency needs.

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Karina Keith is a consultant with CornerStone Dynamics Inc. 'Katching up with Karina' blogs focus on the top web finds for the month. Aligning project goals along with truly understanding what motivates people to get their jobs done is what Karina does best.

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