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Managing the steady stream of email that gathers in your inbox every day can feel like an impossible task. Not long ago, I kept a lengthening list of folders in my email software to track messages by topic, sender, project, urgency and any other context that seemed relevant that hour. I'd spend lots of time carefully dragging and dropping every message from my inbox into the folder it seemed to belong in that day. After awhile I had so many folders the system was completely useless. Some of the folders - even after the work of creating and populating them - I barely ever opened again.
While lots of newsletters and mailing lists fall into the "spam" category, sometimes you want to read them but don't want them cluttering up your inbox. Filter them out in Gmail by including these oft-used phrases. This is my Gmail filter for catching newsletters and mailing lists.
Ever wish you could get even more nit-picky about your Gmail filters? Free Gmail-based webapp Syphir filters messages by arrival time, number of recipients, and whether they "need" replies. It really works, and it might just scratch your last, hard-to-reach inbox itch. Syphir doesn't need you to create an account, so much as authorize it to access your Gmail inbox.
We all suffer from email overload from time to time—if not daily. TED's Chris Anderson's email charter with the hopes of reversing the underlying cause of the email mess: emails that take longer to read and respond to than they take to write. We've covered good email etiquette before as well as the worst email habits and annoyances , but the Email Charter is about a community solution to a shared problem. The solution only works, Chris writes, if lots of people agree to it.
The first message one could consider email was sent more than 30 years ago, and that's probably when people began associating angst and uncertainty with the words "Inbox" and "unread messages." The tools available to read and send emails have advanced considerably since then, but what you actually do with all that chatter, without eating up entire days of work time, is up to you. Luckily, we've covered a wealth of filtering and processing methods and software tweaks that make email less stressful and time-consuming over the years, and a list of our top 10 productive email boosters is after the jump. 10. Mark/Prioritize messages sent only to you