1. Set times of the day when you will look at and deal with your e-mail

Outside of these times, switch off your e-mail and e-mail notifications. For example, at three points in the day, dedicate 30 minutes to checking and actioning all your e-mails in these times

2. Set up e-mail rules

Mail rules are great for auto-sorting out your mail, before it arrives in your inbox. For example, you can set up a folder for each of your regular e-mails, for example monthly recurring invoices. Then set up the rule that puts the e-mail into the right folder – for example, a monthly recurring invoice could go into a folder called ‘invoices to process’. You can even put follow up flags on these rules, so that, say for example, any e-mail from your most important client was flagged to be dealt with by you that day.

3. Unsubscribe to newsletters

Unless you read the newsletter, unsubscribe to them. If you haven’t signed up to the newsletter, then mark as spam, and if you have the opportunity report them as unsolicited e-mail. E-mail marketing clients such as constant contact, do allow you to report unsolicited e-mail.

4. Use a good spam filter

Do invest in a good spam filter. Microsoft Outlook’s spam filter is good at giving you false positives – so aim to use an additional spam filter, so you can turn off Outlook’s in-built spam filter.

5. Action, file or delete immediately

Double or even triple handling e-mail is what leads to personal inefficiency. Have as your mantra that you will only touch an e-mail once.

6. Set limits on amount in inbox

Get into the personal discipline of never letting your inbox get more than 10 e-mails in at the end of the day.

7. Use flags to follow up

Use the follow up flags. If you have an e-mail to action, mark it with a dated follow up flag. Then file it! In the morning, you can then sort all your e-mails by flags, and will get a list of the most urgent e-mails to be actioned.

8. Archive your e-mail folders outside of the inbox folder

When you are creating folders to file your e-mail into after auctioning, Microsoft automatically suggests that you create sub-folders within your inbox. Make sure you create the folders outside of the inbox. This way, your computer performance wouldn’t be affected by Microsoft constantly scanning all the e-mails in the inbox.

9. Set up favourite folders that you access regularly

In the favourite folders box on Microsoft outlook, drag in the folders you use regularly. This way, you will be able to quickly find your most popular folders. You can even give the folders a number, e.g. “1 – clients”, so you most frequently accessed folders will be at the top of the list, regardless of where they would come in true alphabetical order.

10. For twitter users…

Turn off all notifications for new followers and direct messages. Use a twitter client, such as tweetdeck, to alert you to new direct messages and followers.

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