Nothing’s worse than trying to find an email buried in thousands of unopened messages in your inbox. Here are some tips to reduce email build up and use your inbox more efficiently.

1 | Aggregate the BACN

Recurring email (like an email newsletter) that you’ve subscribed to can’t be labeled “unsolicited,” so, technically, it’s not SPAM. However, there’s a nickname for it, BACN (pronounced “bacon”). “Subscription mail” is the official term used to describe it.

To keep BACN under control, use a service like to collect into one email per day all of the subscription email you receive. (You have various frequencies to choose from.) Best feature: monitors your incoming mail and alerts when it has detected a new subscription email. It automatically provides you the opportunity to add it to your daily “rollup.” Downside: You’re giving a private company a lot of access to your email inbox.


 2 | Stop the BACN

If there’s an email subscription you find yourself continually deleting, save yourself the time and simply unsubscribe. If it’s filling your inbox and you’re opening it less and less, face it: The sizzle has left your relationship. Say goodbye and click unsubscribe.

 3 | Set a time frame for checking and responding to email 

Set aside specific time slots for reviewing, replying to or filing-away email.  Letting yourself be constantly pulled away from your work means you’ll never get into a productive flow.

4 | Turn off notifications


(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Email can quickly become all consuming when you’re constantly being distracted from the task at hand by notifications of new messages. Do yourself a favor and turn them off–save them for the time you blocked off.

5 | Quit using your inbox as something other than an inbox

Some people use their inbox as a giant document folder, some a to-do list, and some a project management system. The inbox doesn’t do any of those well. In fact, the only thing it does well is be an inbox.

6 | Give Inbox by Google a try-out

If you use Gmail, give the alternative email handling interface “Inbox by Google” a test ride. You can switch back to the traditional Gmail look at any time. Some users find its pre-grouped categories and forum-like presentation of threaded conversations easier to use. Click the check-mark and the thread gets filed away instantly. Downside: Tendency to use “pin” tool is just like saving everything in your in-box. It’s a new trick that old dogs may not like.

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