Getting over email overwhelm – Part 5

Getting Over Email Overwhelm

Getting over email overwhelm is a five part blog series  in which you’ll learn the exact steps you can take to gain control of your inbox and start making email work for you rather than against you.

Dealing with e-mail has become a constant struggle for many people; there are too many of them, we never get on top of dealing with them, the inbox is constantly full and they continue to arrive like swarms of angry wasps’ intent on diverting, distracting and creating stress in our already too busy lives. It needn’t be like this.

Ready for the final part

Part 5: Making Email Work For You

Throughout this blog series we’ve concentrated on ways you can control your email. But today I want to talk about something a little different – how to make your email work for you. After all, if you’re going to send and receive on average 116 emails per day it only makes sense to be as efficient as possible.

First, think about all the emails you answer that get a similar response. Questions about your products maybe, or requests to schedule an appointment. Responding to these types of emails – while absolutely necessary – is a waste of your time. If it takes you one minute to respond to an appointment request (and that’s pretty conservative) and you get one such email per day, then you’re wasting 3 hours per year. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather spend that three hours reading a good book than answering an email.

These emails can be completely automated using an email auto-response, which is easy to set up in most email clients. In Google mail, for example, you can set up a “canned response” using the Google mail labs feature of the same name, then create a filter and apply the canned response to all emails that meet the criteria.

Beef Up Your Signature

Next, let’s look at beefing up your signature. You might already have an automatic signature, but if all it says is some pithy quote, what’s the point? You want your signature to work for you, not just look cute. Consider adding links to your social media accounts, your latest product for sale, or your blog. Anything that gives readers another look at your business.

Just don’t get carried away. An email signature that’s longer than the email itself is just annoying.

Finally, watch your subject lines. Some email clients (like Google mail) helpfully thread emails according to subject. So if you frequently send and receive emails with the same subject, they’re quite likely to get lost in an old thread.

Instead of just hitting reply – take an extra second to change the subject line before sending. Rather than 47 emails that all say “re: party location” you’ll have one that stands out: “re: party location CHANGED” and is much easier to find – not only for you, but for everyone who receives it as well.


When it comes to taming the email tiger, there are four points to keep in mind:

  • Be the boss – don’t let your email control your life.
  • Use it the way it was intended – and use other tools to handle the jobs email isn’t good at.
  • Keep everything put away – just like your house, clutter accumulates, so keep your inbox clean.
  • Get organized – multiple email addresses might be necessary, but multiple in-boxes are not.

Master these simple concepts, and you’ll be well on your way to getting rid of email overwhelm for good.

Till Next Time

The Time Doctor – Mike Gardner


The Time Doctor

The Time Doctor helps the overworked and overwhelmed learn to say 'No' nicely, and improve their management of time, emails and meetings. He is also an avid fan of Aston Villa, a Dad of Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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10 comments on “Getting over email overwhelm – Part 5

  1. Gladys Parker on said:

    Great post. Something everyone deals with. Thanks for sharing, teaching. Now I’ll have to come back to read the other parts lol

    • The Time Doctor on said:

      Hi Gladys, glad you like the post, please share your views/comments if you get chance to read the others, all feedback gratefully appreciated

  2. Audrey on said:

    These are some great tips, I am going to spend time and use some of them,and go read rest of series! My email is out control haha

  3. Julie Myers on said:

    Great tips. Email can be such a bear if you don’t control it. I go in cycles where I’ve got control, then it’s gone for whatever reason. Good tips, especially about the subject line.

    • The Time Doctor on said:

      Hi Julie, thanks for taking the time to comment, in part 2 i tallk about a strategy that will get your inbox empty at the end of everyday

  4. Donna on said:

    Great post Mike. I love your point about changing the subject heading – even slightly – as it does really help to find emails again – I always try to make each email reply (especially in a chain of replies) slightly different so that I can find emails. But I will be thinking about it even more now. Thanks!

  5. Erica Ardali on said:

    I try very hard to actually contact my clients by phone. I feel like as a direct seller it is very easy to become reliant on email for communication, but i get way better results from making a phone call than sending an email

    • The Time Doctor on said:

      Hi Erica, thanks for your comments, it is a lot better to talk by phone if you can, but don’t leave messages asking people to call you back, leave a message stating what the call was about, and then give a time when you will ring again, 8 times out of ten they will be waiting for your call and you are then managing your time

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