Get a jumpstart on digital spring cleaning by tackling an overloaded inbox - The Explorer: Tech Talk & Innovation

Get a jumpstart on digital spring cleaning by tackling an overloaded inbox

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Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:35 am, Sat May 24, 2014.

(BPT) - If you spring clean your home every year, you might want to consider an often forgotten and usually cluttered space – your email.

Your digital world can get just as messy as any other area of the home with all the photos, emails and documents you’re creating and storing. Your inbox is a great place to tackle first considering the average person will receive more than 10,000 emails this year, according to The Radicati Group, Inc. According to Outlook.com, 80 percent of the average inbox is commercial mail, such as newsletter and daily deals. All those emails could take hours to sort; however, with a few email tools, you can easily, and quickly, unclutter and organize your inbox. Try the following tools to make your email spring cleaning easier:

* Mass delete unwanted emails. The first step most users take when cleaning their Inbox is to get rid of emails that they don’t want. For these emails, features like Sweep in Outlook.com allow users to easily delete (and, if you want, block) emails in bulk by deleting a large number of emails from certain senders, keeping only the latest and most relevant messages. You can even schedule a cleanup, saving you time in the future. This comes in handy when you want to clean up all of those newsletters or daily deals. In fact, the sweep feature helps Outlook.com users move or delete 7.5 million emails every week.

* Categorize emails, making it easier to access when needed. By creating categories based on topics that commonly appear in your inbox such as coupons, calendar related activities or personal conversations, you can then archive email to keep yourself organized and find emails quickly.

* Create folders so you can automatically file away emails and easily find in the future. You can take this a step further and let your email service do the work for you by creating rules that move email to folders as soon as they hit your inbox.

* Set up actions to help you review all your emails quickly. Once you’ve uncluttered your inbox, tools like Outlook.com’s Instant Actions allow users to focus on important emails by quickly accomplishing the most common inbox tasks such as delete, flag and mark emails as unread – without having to actually open an email and read it.

* Leverage your email to stay connected in other ways. Connect your email to Skype, Facebook, Twitter and other social chat tools. In addition, when you connect other services, some email services automatically update contact information for your people so they’re always up-to-date.

Once you have your inbox spring cleaning accomplished you can get back to using email as a personal and productive tool rather than viewing it as a chore.

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