First use Gmail. Escape the burden of Outlook. The transition may be a little painful but it will be worth it in the end. Don’t worry about moving your old mail. You can always keep it and refer back to it as needed. I found that it took about 2 weeks to keep referencing my old program. You will be surprised at how much you don’t ever need. FREEDOM.
Just a few things about Gmail so you don’t go ballistic when I describe 3 simple steps for managing mail. When you put something in the TRASH, it keeps it for 30 days. Just long enough to be able to go back and check if someone asks you about it. When you archive something, it keeps it until you clean out your archive. But Gmail offers so much space, you may never have to do that. And Gmail’s search and filtering is amongst the best so very little sorting is necessary. Even if you prefer not to use Gmail, look for opportunities in your mail program to follow the same steps. Here are my 3 steps to email peace:
- TIP 1: Every few days, go to your INBOX. I have my Inbox set to list 100 emails. Quickly go down the list and star anything you still NEED to read. Select all UNREAD messages and DELETE. If you haven’t read them why would you ever?
- TIP 2: Look at the messages you have READ. If there is ACTION you still need to take, STAR it. If it does need to be filed for safe keeping, move it to appropriate folder. (See TIP 3.) Then select all the unstarred messages and ARCHIVE them. Pau! Now your inbox only has the messages that you need to take action on. Those are easy – when it it is done, unstar it and it will get archived. If you get lots of email, you may have to go to a few pages and repeat these steps.
- TIP 3: I have a very limited folders – only for things that I know I must “forever” archive like one for each client and one to store tax info. Whenever, I move things to a folder, I ask myself if it makes sense to create and automatic filter for it. Often it does. Spend 2 minutes really thinking about the criteria that makes sense and set it up. It will save tons of time in the future! An example: In real estate, I want to save everything dealing with a transaction in a folder. I’ll set filters for clients, other agent, escrow (based on escrow number) and set them all to be limited to 2 weeks after expected close date. When the transaction is done, I put the folder in my ZARCHIVE folder… so it is at the bottom of my list to be maintained forever.
Literally takes just seconds and I can focus on what really matters.