A quick guide to prioritizing email - Digital Tool Factory blog A quick guide to prioritizing email - Digital Tool Factory blog

A quick guide to prioritizing email

Estimated read time – 3 minutes
Estimated completion time – 20 minutes
Estimated payback period – 10 working days

I have had my current work account for seven and a half years. I signed up for many email newsletters and alerts over the past seven years. I did a quick check and found I had over 7,000 emails in my inbox in the past year alone. I also need to keep all of my work-related emails forever.

In the past I had created rules to send the newsletters to different folders. I had “Marketing”, “Microsoft”, “Offers” folders, and the like. However, this proved impractical as I tend to sign up for lots of newsletters and seldom updated my Outlook Rules.

As part of my preparation for 2010 I decided to merge all of my separate folders and create a single “ReadThenDelete” folder for all newsletters and other automated mailings. I then modified all of my existing outlook rules to move all newsletter type emails to the new folder. I then went through my inbox and created a lengthy rule based on sender’s address to move all of the stragglers into the “ReadThenDelete” folder.

It took about 20 minutes, but it created a 50% reduction in my inbox emails, while losing nothing of value.


  • I now have only one rule to update as the new subscriptions arrive
  • I can skim the subjects and delete everything at once, instead of browsing by topic, and then deleting everything

This is not the most life-changing productivity tip I, but it has helped me save several minutes each day.

Before anyone says anything, yes, I know that reading newsletters subtracts from productivity, but I can skim and sort the written word extremely quickly and I probably spend less than two seconds per email (most get deleted based on the subject). My skimming process is now much easier now that everything is in one folder instead of categorized by subject.

Also, the “Read Time” and “Completion Time” was blatantly stolen from Tim Ferriss. Go read his blog right now


This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


Written By Steve French


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