Overflowing Emails: Recipient’s Perspective

10 Sep 2015

Can you remember since when emails have become an important part of our lives? How many emails do we receive and send out a day? Do most of us wish that we could manage our inboxes better? Let’s start with REDUCING THE NUMBER OF…

Email Accounts. Having more email accounts may add to our email clutter. Most individuals probably have at least two email accounts, one for work or school and another for personal contacts. If you own multiple email accounts, consider consolidating all your contacts to a preferred email account.

Times You Check Your Emails. Do we check our emails too frequently? Does frequent email checking interfere with our ability to focus? If so, consider switching off the auto-email alerts and set a fixed schedule for clearing emails. E.g., at 11 am as we may be motivated to focus on clearing our emails before lunch break 😛 And next at 5 pm before we leave. For most of us, there is no need to keep checking our emails, we will likely receive a phone call if there is an ultra-urgent task.

Emails Sent. Clearly, every email we sent out can potentially invite multiple email responses. Hence, by reducing the number of unnecessary emails sent, we will cut down on email clutter for others and ourselves. A previous post (“Overflowing Emails: Sender’s Perspective”) highlighted some factors to consider before clicking the SEND button.

“I-Will-Read-Again-Later” Emails. As far as possible, respond to the emails immediately. If not, at least transfer from inbox to meaningful folders. Based on Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle, we can probably organize each email based on the following matrix.



Not Important





Note: Non-negotiable. Act on it ASAP.

Say NO?



Reminder: Though “Not Important”, this task needs to be done SOON. Do inform the sender if you cannot act on the task.

Not Urgent


DO Later

Warning: This can become IMPORTANT-URGENT!


Suggestion: Propose more effective strategies to replace time-wasting tasks.

Look forward to your sharing if you have used any of the above strategies. Any new strategies are also most welcome!!

Happy Emailing, SLC


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