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Email Floodgate – Technique for Simplifying and Managing Too Much Email


20091009fr-apple-email-icon-hero_mailservicesProblem Summary. With the increased use of email, it’s common for people to feel overwhelmed by having too much email. The inbox grows like an automated task list of items needing attention. Soon, the list of things to do exceeds the available time in a day. This results in people becoming a slave to the inbox.

Problem Solution. After doing the obvious things such as unsubscribing from unnecessary lists, and creating email rules for regularly reoccurring emails, how does a person get on top of the email flood? Something that might help is the simple practice of creating an email floodgate. This is achieved by creating a folder of pending email items. In this way, it’s easier to monitor the current flow of incoming email, and make sure you are keeping up.

Sustainable. The goal should be to keep up with the daily email, while at the same time, having a sufficient abundance of available time to work away at older emails. While this system won’t create more hours in the day, it can help a person gauge how effectively they are keeping up and also it clears from one’s view the hundreds or thousands of emails yet to be answered.

Floodgate Technique. The floodgate technique applied to email is similar to clearing everything off your desk and putting all papers in boxes. Then starting fresh with a clean work surface. You’ve not reduced the work needing to be done. You’ve just created a clear space to reduce the stress associated with clutter.

Public Writings. One method for saving time on email responses is to write a monthly newsletter, and/or maintain a blog, instead of many individual personal emails. This is a way to convey most of what you’d want to tell people.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com