How to Stop Email Overload

Unsubscribe and handle it only once.

A friend of mine paid a consultant $500 just to tell him that. Obviously the consultant helped my friend weed through his email but that was the crux of it.

If you’re subscribed to a newsletter, ask yourself when was the last time you read it. If you havent read it in 2 weeks, you’ll never read it. And while it pains you to hit the unsubscribe button, think of the freedom it will bring you if you have fewer emails in your mailbox.

You want an Inbox that you can manage.

You want an Inbox thats helps you capture the important issues.

Having a cluttered email is like having a cluttered mind. You have hundreds of thoughts that are running through your mind and you don’t know which to pay attention to. Unsubscribe. It’s easy to do. Click the Unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email and confirm the unsubscription.

Handle each email only once. Read it and decide if you need to do something about it or just bin it or archive it. This is hard to do in the beginning but apparently this is one of secrets of the ultra successful people. And I’ve been practising it myself. Nowadays I’ll do my best to handle and email only once. If the email requires extra attention, then I will make it Unread in my Inbox and proceed the clearing the rest. After that, I will return to my Unread emails and work on sorting them out.

Stop Sending Out So Many Emails

Email out = email in.

Stop sending so many emails out. Try and gather all your queries in one email. Even if you get a couple of email on related project questions, reply to them in one email. This helps you and the recipient to be organised.

Set Time Limits

Give yourself a time at the start, during lunch and at the end of the day to go through your emails. Your inbox should be closed at all other times.

I found the little email notification icon that Outlook puts in your task bar as very distracting. So I had that removed. Then I found myself constantly thinking if there were emails waiting for me in my Inbox. This was even more distracting in the beginning. I was so used to checking emails whenever they come in that I was going nuts when I started this technique. But like everything, after the first week, I could hold on a big longer and then my power of resistance increased. I can now fully focus on my work and only check my emails during my allocated break times.


Changing a habit requires a lot of will power and determination. But more importantly, it requires a reason for the change. Or else you’ll return to your old habits. I wanted to change because I wanted more time in my life. I wanted to stop running through my day at breakneck speed, coming home late and then repeating this whole cycle again.

I wanted time. And I’ve managed to get back close to an hour of my time back. Not from checking my emails 3 times a day but from being able to focus solely on my work without being distracted by email.


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