Friday, July 25, 2014

Organizational Tip #14 - Using Multiple Email Addresses to Organize Emails & Save Time

One way to easily get organized and save time is to create multiple email accounts to use for different reasons.  Each day we are bombarded with emails, and often times the sheer number of emails can become overwhelming.  Additionally, if your email has ever been hacked, if a contact has had their email hacked, or even if you have had an email address for many years, you can often find yourself receiving more emails than you want to deal with each day.  The problem with too many emails is that it becomes easier and easier to miss important emails in the mass of information arriving each day.  Instead, create multiple email addresses so you can use different addresses for the different types of emails.  Creating multiple email accounts costs nothing, can be done quickly, and is very effective.  For help choosing passwords when creating new email accounts, check out our "How to Choose Effective Passwords and Avoid Being Hacked" post. 

The process of switching email accounts due to too many emails, or being hacked, can be very time consuming.  Trying to notify each of your contacts and remember every company you do business with, or have given your email address to, can be difficult.   Instead, create multiple email addresses based on the following categories:

Personal Communications
Create an email address to use only for personal communications with friends and family.  By keeping this account limited simply to friends and family, you will prevent the mailbox from becoming cluttered so quickly.  As emails arrive you can filter through them, prioritize as needed, and respond more efficiently.  An email address dedicated only to friends and family also helps protect your contacts as you reduce the risk of your email address becoming compromised.

Social Media
Create an email address to use with all of your social media accounts.  Social media sites send emails to notify you of your usage, your stats, specific events you have been invited to, when someone mentions you, when people respond to things you have posted, of other related content you may be interested in and much more.  Often these emails are a copy of information you have already seen after logging into your social media accounts or using the apps on your smart phone.  Using an email account for these notification emails reduces the clutter to other email accounts.

Shopping & Ordering
Create an email address to use whenever you order items online.  Having one account hold all order and shipping confirmations means it will also be easier to locate these email confirmations when you need them later.  Also, be sure to use this email address whenever you sign up for rewards accounts.  This way account summaries and updates, sales offers and email specials will all go to this account.  

Personal Interest & Hobbies
If you are interested in politics, books, animal welfare, candle making, airplanes, music, skydiving, or any other subject or hobby, create an email address for these interests.  Any groups you belong to, or websites you subscribe to or sign up for notifications from, should use this email address.  This ensures all emails related to these topics are neatly organized in one account.  Whenever you have time to devote to your interests and hobbies you can easily find all emails related to these in a centralized location.

Throw Away
The optional "throw away" email address can be used when you find yourself signing into website to gain access to areas you only use once or want for the short term.  This account should also be used if you have to give an email address somewhere that you are not comfortable with to protect your main email addresses.  Do not use this type of account for personal communications, ordering, or anything that interests you.  Use this email address to throw away at a later date when you no longer need the account.

The beauty of setting up multiple email addresses is that organizing emails into specific email accounts saves time by allowing you to attend to important emails first.  Knowing at a glance that new emails belong to certain email addresses tells you if they are based on your hobbies, or perhaps a sales event, or from a close friend or family member.  This means you can quickly decide if you have time for the email or if it can wait until later.  Creating multiple emails and organizing them by topic is more efficient than looking at each email coming into a single account to determine if it is important or not. 

A way to extend the time saving is to set up the different email addresses differently on your smart phone.  Under the Mail settings on your smart phone, set the New Data settings for each email address uniquely.  Set up important email addresses, like personal communication, to "push" or "fetch" email so new emails are retrieved automatically in the background based on the time interval you select.  Then, set up non-critical email addresses to manually retrieve new emails so new emails only arrive when you open your Mail application.  This will prevent you from being distracted by incoming emails for the addresses that are not as important.

Creating multiple email addresses can save time, organize your email accounts beyond using folders, and also protect your contacts.  With as many free email providers, and the number of email addresses available by Internet providers, creating multiple email addresses is cheap and easy.  As always, happy organizing!

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