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Reduce the number of emails you receive 

  • Why this works: We’ve all had the feeling of being buried beneath an avalanche of emails. Rather than trying to get through them all, consider which emails you really need, and which ones you can do without. 
  • How to do this: Unsubscribe from email lists that no longer feel relevant to you. For any Stanford email lists you do decide to stay on, try turning on Digest Mode, which reduces the total number of emails you receive. You can update all of your email settings using the University IT Mailman Tools

Create email folders and filters

  • Why this works: Email filters allow you to automate the organization process, and folders make it easy to find your most important emails quickly.
  • How to do this: Take into account the kinds of emails you receive and how you might want to organize them. For example, you might create separate folders for different classes, organizations you’re a part of, or specific senders. (Pro Tip: Don’t overthink it. The idea is to develop an effective system, not a perfect one.) 

Block off time on your calendar for reading and responding to emails

  • Why this works: Do you ever sit down to work, only to be interrupted by an email notification? Turning off notifications is certainly helpful, but at the end of the day, you still have certain emails you need to answer. Blocking off a specific time for them ensures you get them done in the least disruptive way possible.
  • How to do this: Decide how much time you need to dedicate to emails, and when. For instance, you might block off a half hour every morning and an hour every night. Write it in your calendar. Try following this plan for a week to see how it goes, and make adjustments as needed. (Pro Tip: We recommend reserving the times of day you’re most alert for more demanding tasks.)