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Once you have decided how you want to organize your email, set up folders and then go through each and every item in your inbox. This is part that may take hours so make sure you have set aside enough time to fully complete job.
While you're sorting your messages, you may find several items that have not yet been addressed but need to be. Try to address these before filing them, or make a note on your calendar or to-do list. Alternatively, if your email system has capability, you can mark them for completion later. Be aware however: If you file messages away you are not likely to address them later unless you have something scheduled that reminds you to. So, if you can, it is better to address them now and get them out of way.
If your email program has ability to link messages to contacts, I strongly suggest using this feature. This is primary reason I use GoldMine software. With GoldMine, I can keep a running history for each and every person I come into contact with. All email messages sent or received can be filed into history right along with appointments, phone calls, faxes, project notes and any other correspondence I have accumulated.
By utilizing contact management software that files email according to person whom email is from or to, you do not have to continuously search through various email folders when trying to find a specific item.
Now, once you have spent initial time needed to organize your inbox, it is fairly easy to keep it organized from that point forward. It may take a bit of effort to get into habit in first week or two, but usually joy of having it all cleaned out helps to motivate you into keeping it cleaned.
Excerpt from: "Don't Put Into Email Today What You Do Not Want to See on Headline News Tomorrow" - A Guide To Effective And Professional Email Communication. Read it free at http://www.sasezpublications.com/Reports/Effective-Email/
(C) 2002, Kathy Burns.
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