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How to use the email tool effectively

Khizar Hayat Saani


If you’re in a managerial position at work, you’re bound to receive many emails.

These emails can, at times, overwhelm our inbox if not effectively organized. For some people, their email is their biggest foe: an adversary that manifests itself in the form of an inbox cluttered with newsletters that we never read and thousands of unread emails.

We’ll make the email tool work by effectively managing our inbox in an orderly fashion and increasing our efficiency at work.


We can learn to use the email tools effectively by setting down simple rules and some degree of self-discipline to adhere to them.

These rules are as follows:

  • Primary source of incoming messages
  • Archive anything we’re done with
  • Never delete an email
  • Unsubscribe from lists we don’t read
  • Set up an email rule for essential messages
Rules for email

Primary source of incoming messages

Our inbox is the primary source of information. Consider all other software, such as the chatting application or ticket-tracker, as the secondary source.

It is good to configure other software to send us an email every time there is an activity. This way, we only need to stay on top of our email, and everything else follows.

Archive anything you’re done with

If you’ve read or replied to an email, archive it. If an email requires that we do something, it is ideal for placing the task on our to-do list and then archiving the email.

Following this practice will ensure that our inbox only has a few emails at all times. We can always search for other emails if you need something again. The email will not be in view, but it will still be a part of our record.

Never delete an email

An email is an official, transactional record of communication. Therefore, it may be archived but never deleted.

This ensures that any record we might ever need is readily available, regardless of how long it has been.

Unsubscribe from lists you don’t read

We must unsubscribe to lists that are not engaged as they cause unnecessary clutter. It is always better to unsubscribe from such lists to avoid receiving the newsletter via email.

Set up an email rule for essential messages

If you regularly receive emails, it is better to inform your colleagues and staff that including a particular word in the subject line will automatically push their email to the top of your inbox.

This allows us to respond to high-priority emails quickly and increase our efficiency.

Filtering emails via rule

Inbox zero

Inbox zero is an extension of the approach described above. In this approach, we aim to keep our inbox empty at all times. However, if we receive a large number of emails, this approach can be tedious and time-consuming.

Therefore, it’s better to use the approach as a guide rather than a doctrine to make the most of it.

Note: Your is email is not your to-do list. Whatever tasks you have should be moved to your actual to-do list and the email should be archived.




Khizar Hayat Saani
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