Overwhelmed by emails? These tips will help!

We receive a lot of emails – it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Learning how to manage your email is an important skill, not just for your time at UVA, but also for your future employment. Consider these tips for one action step to better manage your email:

Stop and reflect – what’s going on for YOU?

Each person is a little different with how they use their email and what they find overwhelming. Are you overwhelmed by the sheer number of emails in your inbox? Do you simply forget to check your email, since it’s not part of your routine? Do you worry about missing something? Do you lack a system to organize the emails, so everything gets all jumbled up? Pinpointing exactly what is going on for you will give you much better information and strategies for how to make change.

Too many emails!

Try these two ideas to reduce your emails:

Remove yourself! Sometimes we have been added to/signed up for too many listservs or promotional emails and we need a clean out. What is one email you do not need to receive anymore? Open it, scroll to the bottom to locate the ‘unsubscribe’ link and click on that. Hooray! Remove yourself from a few more email lists and you are on a roll!

Filter and delete/archive! Choose one email (perhaps a listserv or promotional email) that you do not need in your inbox. Use the ‘search’ function of your email to search for all the emails like this one. Then use the ‘select all’ function to delete or archive all the emails. Repeat. Ex: if you receive promotional emails from Target – search ‘Target,’ select all the emails from target, and delete. Next you might remove all emails from a club that you no longer attend. This is a quick and rewarding way to quickly decrease the amount of emails in your inbox.

Identify a system to organize

Each email program has built-in functionality to help users organize and manage their inboxes. Take advantage of this! You can google tips for your email program (ex. Gmail or Mail for Mac) or use the ‘help’ function in the email program.  Taking a few moments to explore the program can help you identify a system to help you stay organized.

Ideas for Gmail – Labels and Filters

Gmail Labels can be a great way to organize your Gmail inbox. Here are some directions and a video on how to create labels in Gmail: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/118708?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en&oco=0

TIP: Create a “FA 20 Classes” label and then create a label for each of your classes “nested’ under it. Then you can “file” emails from each of your classes under the appropriate label.

TIP: Create separate labels for other things too: ex University Deadlines (major, enrollment times, messages from advisors, etc…), Newsletter, Club, Internships/Work

Gmail also allows you filter your emails, automatically applying labels or skipping the inbox, to help create order. Here are some directions about how you might filter your emails in order to help manage your inbox: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6579?hl=en

TIP: Create a filter for each professor that you have and apply the class label you created or for newsletters you receive. You can even opt to have those emails “skip your inbox” – though take caution that you have a system to check those labels so you don’t miss important email communication.

Need more tips?

Email Christy Rotman, College Life Skills Coach, christyr@virginia.edu and I’ll help you strategize other ways to manage your email!

By Christy Rotman
Christy Rotman