Managing Your Inbox

In the 21st century, emails are a part of life. Every new activity or group project brings with it a slew of new emails. Add in offers from online shopping websites, messages with new opportunities on campus, e-newsletters from websites you subscribe to and soon your inbox is full.

But how do you cope when you open your CyMail and you have 80 new messages? Most students develop a system for managing their inbox over time. To help you bypass the trial and error, here are six tips to keep you from getting overwhelmed by emails:

  1. Check your email often - everyone knows the horror of opening your inbox after a long weekend and finding too many unread messages. Avoid letting your inbox stand in the way of important homework and studying by checking your inbox at least once a day or more to prioritize, delete spam and read the important messages.
  2. Actually read the messages - Have you ever gotten a reply from someone that clearly didn’t read what you typed? Frustrating right? It could also be embarrassing depending on who you are communicating with, especially if the message says, “Please dress in business attire for class tomorrow.” You are never too busy to read an email from a professor or supervisor.
  3. Go mobile - email applications like Gmail and Messages are free on smartphones and other mobile devices. Set up your email to go to your phone or tablet so that you can sort through emails throughout the day as you have time.
  4. weapons

    From left to right, the Archive, Report Spam and Delete buttons in CyMail - your greatest weapons.

    Learn to prioritize - Use the Star, read/unread or Labels functions of your CyMail account to prioritize which emails you’ve read, which emails you need a reply and which emails you can ignore. I typically star messages that I need to keep for later or reply to, but sometimes I tag emails with labels like “Budget” to denote messages of that nature.
  5. Delete delete delete - If you don’t need it, nix it. Clear out storage space by deleting emails that you will not refer to again. Many people strive for inbox-zero each day and that means deleting conversations that are complete. Don’t worry; deleted messages go into your trash folder so they’re not really gone.
  6. Want to stop receiving certain emails every week? Look for "unsubscribe" links at the bottom of messages.

    Want to stop receiving certain emails every week? Look for "unsubscribe" links at the bottom of messages.

    Block it out - To prevent the daily flood of messages, look for “unsubscribe” buttons at the bottom of messages or click the Report Spam button at the top of the screen to block unwanted emails. Avoid subscribing to newsletters or promotions from websites you visit. Block and report email addresses that continually send you unwanted or harassing messages.