How many unread messages do you have in your email inbox right now? 10? 50? More than 1,000? If youâ€™re reading this article, chances are that thereâ€™s a lot of them, and you need to do something about it.
Many people have the same problem. Two BBC reporters, Sherie Ryder and Tom Gerken have written an article about people who have been known for their poorly-managed inboxes. According to the article, the prize for the highest number of unread emails went to Piyush Raka, a person who had 381,753 of them (check out his smartphoneâ€™s screen below).
This number was so high that many people perceived it to be a work of Photoshop. However, no sound evidence has been provided to prove that Raka cheated.
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To avoid situations like these and spending hours cleaning your inbox, use the following tips:
1. Unsubscribe from Unwanted Newsletters
Many people have the habit to subscribe to promotional emails and newsletters hoping to learn more about a topic that interests them, get more offers, or stay up-to-date with the latest content. Some even create special email accounts for that. Often, they are too busy to read all of them as well as clean out the clutter. As the result, advertisements and newsletters overwhelm the inbox, burying any important messages.
To avoid that, unsubscribe from services you no longer find useful. Since there are a lot of messages, search your inbox for the term â€œunsubscribe,â€ and review the results.
2. Archive Messages Youâ€™re Not Ready to Delete Yet
If you found some emails that might be useful for you later, transfer them to your archive instead of deleting right away. Thereâ€™s still a good chance that you wonâ€™t need them again, so doing so will clean up your inbox while still keeping them available.
3. Delete Useless Emails Right Away
If there are enough emails in your inbox to read for a week, it makes a good sense to delete the ones that donâ€™t have any value for you as soon as they arrive. Of course, it can be annoying to do this many times a day, but this could actually be a great motivator for you to finally sit down and clean out the clutter.
4. Use Unroll.me Service
If your inbox contains 1,000+ unread emails that are constantly added with new ones because of your subscriptions, itâ€™s a good idea to start at the source of the problem and unsubscribe. However, doing so can be very tricky since youâ€™ve got a lot of emails. Unsubscribing from all the services you donâ€™t need can take hours to complete.
To accelerate the process, use Unroll.me. This tool was designed specifically for people who cannot curb their email newsletter habit and clean up their inbox. It identifies subscription emails and allows to unsubscribe from them in just one click. Moreover, the tool also provides new ways of organizing favorite newsletters.
5. Use Boomerang
This is an amazing plugin for Gmail that puts you in charge of when you send and receive emails. â€œI use this plugin to pause my Gmail whenever I donâ€™t want it to distract me from work,â€ says Kaitlin Martin, a content marketer at Proessaywriting. â€œItâ€™s perfect for me as a busy person because Iâ€™m not ready to deal with all the messages right away.â€
Indeed, Boomerang has some useful features, including keeping your inbox from receiving emails, schedule sending emails, making exceptions for people whose messages you want to receive, and setting up an auto-response for the time when you paused your inbox.
Moreover, the tool includes a writing assistant that uses AI to help you write better, more actionable emails.
The mobile version of Boomerang is also available.
6. Use Sortd
Another must-have tool for people with cluttered Gmail inbox. Sortd is an email organizer that brings them together in one user-friendly workplace. It can dramatically enhance your email management by creating lists and reminders, renaming subject lines, and doing other helpful things.
As the result, youâ€™ll get a Zen-like experience because your new Gmail will be organized with simple lists and drag & drop features.
7. Use Email Game
This tool brings an element of gaming into email management, which could be interesting for procrastinators and people who tend to process their inbox slowly. It works with Gmail and forces you to quickly decide what to do with each message in your inbox.
For example, Email Game sets a limit of only 5 seconds to delete or archive and 3 minutes to reply.
Over to You
Looks like you have everything you need to make your email management more efficient and effective. Feel free to use these tips and tools and donâ€™t let your inbox become featured on BBC along with Piyush Rakaâ€™s (unless you want to).