Finchley: Computer corner – Manage your inbox

This article first appeared in the December 2009 issue

By Andrew Taylor

My inbox is very manageable now as I have devised a method that will work for not only Outlook users but many other email clients (programs for reading emails) as well.

The idea is simple but you need to work at it for the first few weeks.

It is in two parts: the first part is for everybody, and the second part is for those who have their emails sent to their mobile phones.

First of all, create a folder called Delete 7 days’ or whatever you feel would work with you.

Then make a filter that moves emails that you need to read but do not need to keep directly to that sevenday folder. For those emails which you don’t need to read but might want to look at later – for example, Vistaprint sends me weekly offers but I only need to look at them when I actually need some printingmake a filter which marks these emails as read and posts them directly to the sevenday folder.

These two sets of filters, after a month of building them as the emails arrive in my inbox, now take care of more than half of all the emails I receive. About once a month I remember to go in and delete all emails over seven days old!

For emails I need to read, I have set up filters to keep them unreadbut which move them straight to the folder where I want them filed. This saves a little time and ensures they always go to the same folder. I then read the unread emails already filed in the right folders.

The second part of my plan is for those who have their emails sent to their mobile phones

If you have a smartphone and need to have certain emails go to your mobile phone when you are away from the office, then you need to keep those messages in your computer’s inbox so you can read them when out and about. You cannot file these into any folder until after you have read them or you won’t see them in your inbox on your smartphone.

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