I created my very first e-mail address back in 1996. I probably had only two friends at that time who had e-mail addresses as well.
Fourteen years later, e-mail is now my primary tool to communicate with family, close friends, people I work with and connections made through online spaces.
It sounds almost made up but today, I receive about 200-300 e-mails in a day. Some of them personal, others work-related, a lot are notifications, and many of them are newsletters of information that I have signed up for at one point or another.
I do not want e-mails to be my daily enemy. But I knew that if I continued on placing all these new e-mails in one place, I am going to dread my future.
E-mails should be a great thing. I clearly knew this was a powerful tool if I can develop a strategy in mastering e-mail management.
Here is what I did. I wrote down the different 'types' of e-mails I received on a daily basis. The list looks like this:
Social Media / Community Profiles
Banking / Online Shopping
My next step was to create an e-mail address for each list. Here is a breakdown of how each e-mail inbox looks like and how often I check it.
E-mail #1: Personal
These are e-mails from family and friends. People I have an ongoing relationship with. Very few people know this address and I intend to keep it that way. I love this inbox because this is where I see thoughtfully written letters. Frequency: weekends.
E-mail #2: Work (external)
These is the e-mail address I place on my business card for freelance work and business networking. I rarely use it because right now I am not in a position to accept any extra jobs. My full-time job and this blog keep my hands full. However, this address will come in handy when opportunities arise in the future. Frequency: biweekly.
E-mail #3: Work (internal)
The busiest inbox that I currently have. This displays all the correspondence that I have regarding my full-time job. Includes customer e-mails, task assignments, and work issues. Frequency: daily/all the time.
E-mail #4: Social Media/Community Profiles
I use this e-mail address when I sign up for social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All notifications go to this inbox. I find this the 'noisiest' out of all my e-mail addresses and the one I care for the least, honestly. Frequency: once a week.
E-mail #5: Ministry
My husband is in full-time ministry and I love teaming up with him; being available to many people. This e-mail address is used for ministry updates, missions correspondence, and prayer requests. Frequency: Tuesdays and Thursdays.
E-mail #6: Blog
This e-mail address is intended for correspondence made through happysammy.com. I also use this when I need to get in touch with possible contractors for blog improvements. Frequency: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
E-mail #7: Newsletters
This is a content-rich e-mail inbox and I knew that if I mixed it up with all my other e-mails, it can easily get lost or it might distract me from other messages I need to address immediately. Putting them together in one place helps me schedule a specific time to digest all the information. I use this for blog subscriptions, online newsletters and sign-ups at conference exhibits. Frequency: biweekly.
E-mail #8: Banking/Online Shopping
Most of you know that online shopping transactions can get really spammy. Useless e-mails that come when purchasing an item can bring a lot of stress to other e-mails that needs to be taken seriously. I highly recommend that every online shopper should have an e-mail address devoted exclusively to this. Frequency: once a month or only when I buy something online.
You might be thinking: 8 e-mail addresses?!? The thought of being on top of addresses this many can be overwhelming.
I have found that dealing with 8 different types of e-mails in one inbox and having to look at them all daily can be much more stressful and eventually makes me less efficient. I used to color code and label each e-mail for better management but I found it that this very task is also counter-productive.
I am now in a much better place separating them in different boxes and setting them to different check-in frequencies. Starting them all up is very tedious but the work has paid off since. My current sanity has made it all worth it!