I was asked to help a colleague to get control of his Inbox starting from 967 unread emails.
Here are the rules we used to get to 313:
Create rules to move system notifications, internal general notifications to designated folders. There were already 40 messages in the designated folders after 50 minutes. This alone saved precious time from sorting out the mailbox. If you don’t have a folder structure set up yet, you can create folders such as ‘System’, ‘Approvals’, ‘General’.
Create rules for incoming messages per team mates, management. Have separate folders created to each person and create rules for them. Once they send an email, it will be automatically moved to their folder. What is the use of this? You can know straight away and don’t need to search for your superior’s emails and can react, take action immediately. This way, you will know if you received something important instead of just seeing 20 unread emails in the inbox.
Create a CC (Carbon Copy) folder, and create the rule to move each email to this folder in which you are in the ‘cc’ field only. Why? Most of these emails are only FYI (For Your Information), but can very quickly cause Inbox meltdown. If an email should have been actioned by you, it will come back again with your name in the ‘to’ field anyway or you will receive a call.
Go to your Inbox; click on the ‘Unread’ emails; select the ‘From’ option for sorting; collapse the rows; and drag the from column wide to the right. With this view, you will see the sender name and the amount of unread messages you received. It will be easy to find an outlier and create a rule for them as well.