3 Control the Flow In

Now that you have 1) gotten your email down to zero and 2) slowed the flow of emails out, next we need to start dealing with controlling the flow of emails in. If you did the email power hour, you actually have a lot of data that you can use to finish this section. Go through your FYI folder and see what things can be gotten rid of or moved.


Unsubscribe from anything you can manage. Before you make a rule or a workflow in how to handle something, decide if you really need it or not. An easy way to see if you need something is by looking at how many of the emails from that subscription are unread.

Turn Off Notifications

People often use emails as a notification system. The purpose of a notification is to get your attention. If your inbox is full, then any notification there will not get your attention so it doesn’t help.

Move It to Something else

Do you have a blog you follow that you get emails about? Instead of getting an email for it, sign up for an RSS service or just set a time on your calendar to go read the blog. If you are getting notifications from a service, just schedule a time to check that service instead of getting notifications.  This goes for Twitter, Facebook, Slack, etc.

Mark It as Junk

If you can’t unsubscribe from something, consider marking it as junk. It will go to your junk mail folder so if you really need it in the next 30 days, it will be there, but it will also not be in your inbox and it will automatically disappear. I am particularly fond of doing this for listserve emails, because I can go back and reference them if I need to, but they’re irrelevant after 30 days and they disappear.

Exercise: Stopping the Flow

For one week, use your Email Log and keep track of what emails come in that you really don’t need. Brainstorm ways to stop that email from coming to your inbox, or diverting it to the FYI folder, trash bin, or Junk mail folder.


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Personal Email Management Copyright © 2021 by Joy M. Perrin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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