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How to manage your emails

From going on a time management training recently I learnt a few tips about email overload and priority. Feel free to add your tip!

Things you'll need

  • Clear email subject line
  • A system to prioritise

Keep one topic by email

Keep your emails short

If your recipient has to scroll down because your email is too long, it means you need a new format for passing the message on. Perhaps attach a file or send a link to a shared document online/ shared drive.

Use a clear subject line

Put a very explanatory and clear email topic as a subject so by just reading the subject the recipient know what action to take with that email.

  • Bad email subject: Update
  • Good email subject: Update following the meeting on 17.01.12

If the reader needs to take action, why not include this too. Eg: Press release - amends by Monday please


Don't over CC

This means do not copy everyone you know in the email. Otherwise there will be email duplicates and the thread of discussion might get lost. Only copy the relevant person if an action is expected of that person. Make sure you explain to them in your email why they are copied into. If someone receive an email they are copied into with no specific call for action, they will wonder why they were copied in the message in the first place. For info, CC stands for carbon copy.


Schedule time to sort out your emails

Try to set up a time for sorting out your emails where you won't be interrupted. Add this time to your calendar, marked as 'busy', so people know why you're not available. This dedicated time to prioritise your emails will help the rest of your day. Give your emails a flag, a colour, use filters and rules, a dedicated folder whatever works best for you and stick to it. Then answer your emails in order of priority. I know at lunchtime I can go to my folder to read newsletters that I will then delete.



I am sure like me you have 'saved this email to 'read it later' but never did. The email subject allows you to decide if it's worth reading and the 'from' field tells you if it is relevant to you. Be strong and if it isn't worth reading, delete it. And don't forget to empty your 'delete' folder at the end of the day.

Further information


Page last edited Jul 20, 2017 History

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