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Quick Tip: Keeping the Entrepreneur's Inbox Under Control

Not every message you receive is spam. You probably want to keep about 20% of it. It could be less than that, but all you need to do is sign up for a few free items now and again, and suddenly your inbox is filled with messages that you want to read later.

What should you do with them?

If you leave them in your inbox, then they become a different kind of spam: the kind that you want!

The easiest thing to do is to create a filter or rule for them.

What categories should you create?

Whichever ones are appropriate to you.

For example, let’s say that you receive messages every day on five different social media platforms: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Digg, and Tumblr. Five messages each day is 35 in a week. In a month you’re over 100.

If you take time every day to read those along with everything else you get, you’ll spend half a day, then you’ll spend half of every day in your inbox, which is probably not the most productive thing you could do with your time.

So instead, you create a filter or rule for each one.

Gmail and Outlook, for example, lets you nest the folders. So you could create a folder called Social Media, and then put each of the social media folders inside of it.

You don’t need to do this all at once. Start by choosing the sender who is responsible for the majority of messages. Create a filter for that person or company and have all of the messages that come from that person automatically sent to that folder. Then you can read one right after the other, instead of looking for them in your inbox.

And when you create the filter, you’ll probably be asked if you want to include all of the other ones from that sender. Be sure that you indicate that you do. That action alone could reduce the number of messages in your inbox substantially.

Gmail organizes folder alphabetically, but you can change that so that the folders appear in the order that you want them in.

You do that by numbering them. I recommend that you start with the number 001. That way you have the option of going up to 100 if you wish. Ten really isn’t enough, but to have more than that, you have to pretend that you will have 100.

Some apps, like Outlook, let you drag around and re-order folders.

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