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This ebook offers tips and tricks on how to clear your email clutter and keep your inbox empty.

1. The Inbox Is Not a To-Do List

Many people leave emails they are not able to handle immediately in their Inbox. Thus, it creates a to-do list of sorts: a running list of the things they still need to work on. The problem is after you get past a page of emails or so, you have to scroll down, re-read, flag or otherwise remind yourself to do them. Instead, pull the action from the email and move it to the correct location.

Let’s say, for example, that I have an email that I can’t reply to immediately and I can’t delete it, forward it, or file it, but I have to get to it, but perhaps not until next week. I don’t want it to just sit here in my Inbox; I’d like to remember next week that I needed to handle this. Use the “Move to Folder” command, which will convert an email into a Task. Right click on an email that you need to do and select “Move to Folder.” Now tell Outlook what you want to do with that email. In this case, it’s something that I want to do. I will therefore choose Tasks and click “OK.” Outlook will create a new Task and put your email (including attachments) into the text portion of the task. I can then choose a Start Date that I would like to begin working on this task. I opt to turn off the reminders on Tasks, because I don’t like all the pop-up boxes. You can also enter a different due date if you want to. When you click OK, the email will be moved from your Inbox and put into that Task. If I go over to my Calendar, I will find this item in my TaskPad in 2003 or the To-Do list under the Today flag in 2007 (sort your flags by Start Date, not Due Date). When I arrive at work on that date, there is the task I scheduled, which is the email I need to work on. When I open this task, I can open this email and reply. In other words, you have to get out of the mindset that an email has to reside in your inbox in order for you to work on it. It doesn’t have to be in the Inbox.

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