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Feng shui encourages us to remove things from our environment that we haven’t touched in a year. For your email, we think 30 days should be the limit. The purpose is to unclog your life and take back time wasted on communication you don’t care about.

You undoubtedly receive a daily barrage personal and professional emails every day. You may even read a small percentage of them, but there’s still all the time wasted scanning your inbox looking for the one email that really needs your attention.

It’s time to fight back. Cut, delete, quarantine and reroute until your email is manageable. One doctor we know was so incensed by the amount of junk mail he received that he compiled a mailing list of junk mail senders and mailed to them every day. Not very effective, but it made her feel better!

Divide and Conquer

Here’s a more workable strategy. Your most important line of defense is a robust email program, like Outlook, Thunderbird, Mail (Mac OS) and others. Our goal is to triage your email as it arrives. Easy to program filters on these email clients makes it possible to direct mail based on innumerable variables, including who it’s from, keywords in the text, the domain it’s sent from, and whether-or-not the email was sent to you, or you were copied on it.

Everyone who takes control of their email has the same apprehension, “What if I miss something important?” You will, it’s inevitable, but you already are, because no one has the time to focus on handing 100+ emails a day.

Here are filters that we commonly set-up:
• If the sender is not in my contact list, delete, or send to mailbox 2 folder.
• If the mail in personal inbox, professional and secondary inboxes older than (x) days, move them to the trash
• Move all spam to the spam folder, or trash
• Send mail from dougmd@gmail.com to personal mailbox
• Send mail from Douglas_MeiterMD@optimeyesllc.com to my professional mailbox
• Send mail addressed to me to my personal inbox

You may also set up folders based on a person’s name, or a type of content. For example, email from journals can go into a reading list folder. Decide what’s useful and important and get rid of everything else.

The point is to use the filtering tools already in your email to take control of it, and Feng Shui your inbox.