Declaring Email Suicide

You know that feeling, you’re overwhelmed with people trying to contact you and you don’t know where to start. The phone is ringing off the hook and virtual and real post box are over flowing. And you don’t know where to even to start to tackle things. And what’s worse, is that tomorrow you will have an even bigger backlog of things to catch up on. If you’ve ever felt like this you will be able to emphasise with me. I tend to take drastic action when this happens, twitch off the cell phone, and deal with the more urgent tasks. Tackling your email can sometimes seem impossible, (see a screenshot of my current inbox below), and for the 2nd time in my life I need to I declare email suicide.

Email Suicide

Email Suicide is when you say that you can’t deal with the number of emails you get, and that to have anyway of dealing with new emails you will need to delete your current inbox. And this is what I am going to have to do today. Well kind off…

The emails in my inbox, currently 574 are now in a seperate folder and I will try to tackle 25 of them ever day. Only 25, no more, no less. And I will try to keep on top of my new emails. Sorry if you are in this group, but there is no other way I can deal with these things (for my sanity alone). This is alot better than deleting all the emails, but if could take another 3 weeks to get some some of my emails !

Another alarming number, is the number of SPAM emails I am receiving. GMAIL removes these emails after 30 days, so in the last month I have received around 14k SPAM emails. I do know that their SPAM filter is not 100% accurate. Sometimes I do go through these, as I typically find that 1 or 2 in 100 are false positives. But you can see my dilemma here, to go through these would take hours and hours of time, and by the time I get to these, I’m sure there will be hundreds, if not thousands in their place. So in one click of a button, BAMM ! all my SPAM folder with the possible false positives are now delete.

Moving forward, I am going to use better use of the GMAIL’s filter functionality, to sort emails automatically when they are coming in. Also there is an extended feature where you can add special labels. Log in to your Gmail, select the Labs tab, and enable Superstars addon. Then in your Settings tab select what SuperStars you want to have.

How do you deal with all the emails you receive ? If you have any tips, I’m ALL EARS !

9 thoughts on “Declaring Email Suicide

  1. My inbox looks pretty much the same. Or it did a couple weeks ago. I bit the bullet and went through a huge chunk of it for about a week until I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a great feeling!

    I use Windows Live Mail to help sort my email. I use three different email accounts that I can view all in that one program. Gmail is what I sign up to newsletters and other sites with. That’s the address all my blog comments and website email addresses get forwarded to.

    I also have hotmail which some of my friends have, and I use that to sign up for newsletters of my competitors. I check them out when I want to see what they’re up to but if that inbox gets backed up it’s not a big deal to just select all, then delete.

    I also have an email address with my local ISP that only my friends, family, and close contacts have. If I see any email in that inbox I know it’s important. On every account I have filters and labels in place so that things (like new subscribers, lead reports, etc.) go directly into folders that I can look at later if I want.

    Now that I have this little system in place (which is not perfect but it works for now) it helps to keep the unimportant ones out of view so I can focus on the emails that need a quick response.

  2. It’s all about keeping things IN CONTEXT. With email being out of context and limited data structure, chaos rules.

    I have been using a kool P2P based solution called Collanos that keeps files, correspondences, links, etc. in shared workspaces that are mirror images of my team mates Collanos workspaces. Each folder is designated for a certain purpose and each project has a different team.
    I believe this solution alone has restored order in my professional and personal correspondes and work and reduced the number of emails in my Inbox by 500 a week!

  3. Hi Cassie, thanks for your great comment. In fact I think it’s the longest one anyone has ever left on my blog !

    I am slowly getting to grips with the emails. I was thinking of having a few sorting folders , like Important/Needs a reply/Doesn’t need a reply/Archive/Trash.

    That way to organise my emails and then reply to all of them that need replying to. These should be in my “needs a reply folder”.


  4. No problem…once I get on a roll, it’s hard to stop! I’m notorious for leaving comments long enough they could be blog posts all on their own.

    Having folders like you mentioned is what I do and it works really well, although it’s still time consuming to sort each email into the corresponding folders so I try to apply as many rules to incoming messages as possible that auto-sort them.

  5. Hi Becky – I understand why you’re coming from. I get so much crap in my email that some days I don’t even check it – it gets me down too much. It’s impossible to find the important stuff among all the spam.

  6. I feel your pain! I really do. I have ISP mail, site mail (10 accounts), mail (4 accounts), mail (5 accounts), and yahoo mail.

    It can get to be seriously overwhelming, but I have kept it under control up to now. I use POP3 access and Mozilla Thunderbird to keep all of my mail sorted. It integrates VERY well with gmail. In fact, it has built-in support for gmail.

    I have all of my site admin, tech, abuse, root, personal, blog, notification emails set up in different folders on my computer, and when I pull my email from the server, Thunderbird sorts everything for me.

    I would suggest that this is the best way to deal with the “overkill” of all those emails. If you’re really geeky, you could even set up IMAP access to gmail, but I’m not that geeky yet.

    The upside is that gmail will filter the spam for you, and you download your inbox. The downside is that gmail filters your spam for you, and you download ONLY your inbox. I hate that. I wish I could turn off the gmail spam filtering and let Thunderbird do it for me. But that’s a common complaint about gmail.

    The biggest benefit to using a local mail program is the ability to pull emails from many, many accounts at once and sort them as you need them to be sorted. It really helps set priorities. Anything that I get that comes addressed to my abuse@ address gets set to highest priority, and I can see that immediately. I can also set specific email addresses to different priorities and folders. It’s sweet!

    Dump the web mail interface, fire up Thunderbird, or if you really must — Outlook, and get to sorting.

    You’ll never go back to the web mail interface again.


  7. I know what you mean, but the problem is that you always have the feeling that when you delete you might have deleted the one e-mail that would lead you to untold riches, Ha.Ha. Fat Chance.
    Comes a time though when you just have to bite the bullet and get rid, or at least put them aside to be dealt with later so you can get on with things which matter.

  8. I’m not a professional anything or even much of a blogger, but I have a question for your informed readers.
    How do I stop the forwarded cartoons, Obama rumors, kitten photos, etc. that my legitimate contacts forward? Apparently, they receive these “cuties” from someone in their own e-mail and then forward them to everyone on their own contact lists.

    Previously I had the $20/yr yahoo mail with a filter on it that put every msg with FWD in the subject line into a separate mail folder, but I didn’t renew, so now everything goes into my inbox.

    If this post is completely inappropriate for this forum, don’t hesitate to not post it. I just thought I would ask while I was here.

    BTW Gmail does allow you to add tags to your received mail. I set up tags such as “Need to follow up”, “Need to reply”, “Adoption Search Help”, etc. [I am an adoptee ISO bParents. After 18 months of internet searching, I’m not any closer than when I started.]

    Lisa Kay
    FL Adoptee
    Born Jan 1963 – Gainesville, Florida

  9. Oh boy, I definitely know where you are coming from with this. I have over 2000 in one of my inboxes. And it’s basically turnedme away from even checking it anymore, but I need to tackle it like you tried to.

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