Quarterly Newsletter
Seventeenth Edition




Many of my clients have difficulty managing the onslaught of email messages they receive each day. Some have hundreds or even thousands of messages in their Inbox. Every time they look at their Inbox they wonder, what am I missing? Where do I start? What do I still need to do? Who haven't I responded to?


Repeatedly going through old emails wastes your time and energy. By keeping your Inbox cleaned out you'll gain a sense of control, become more efficient and feel less stressed. This newsletter provides tips on keeping your Inbox under control, managing messages and reducing the number of emails you receive.


Best Regards,












smiling computer drawing

Keys to Managing  

Your Email 


Don't Check First Thing in the Morning

Checking email before you have a chance to determine your goals for the day can put you in a reactive mode.   Instead, start your day by determining your priorities and use this time to focus on your most important tasks. You'll start your day off proactively and have the whole rest of the day to catch up on whatever is in your email Inbox.


Only Check Periodically

Constantly checking your email breaks your concentration and disrupts your productivity, so try to resist the urge to respond to emails as they pop up. Instead, set aside regular times a day to open and process email. For example, you could decide to open your email each day at around 10 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm. You may even want to turn your email alarm off so you aren't constantly distracted.


Use Folders

Create email folders and label them just like you would for files in your regular file cabinet. Then, move emails you want to refer to later into their designated folders. For example, you may want to create an email folder labeled "Travel" for messages and confirmations relating to upcoming trips. If you aren't sure how to create email folders, Google "Creating Email Folders" for Outlook, Gmail, or Apple to find one of the many YouTube videos that demonstrates how.  


Make Decisions

During your designated email time, don't just "check" email -- decide what needs to be done. Process your email by selecting one of these four actions:


1.    DELETE

Much of what you receive can probably be deleted. Getting these messages out of your Inbox allows you to see what you actually need to attend to. And don't worry about losing access to emails you delete. You can always use the Search function in your email program to find emails you sent or deleted and later want to view.   Also, be aware of long threads of emails. Keep only the last email that has the entire conversation and delete the rest.


2.    DO

If the email requires an action you can do in 2 minutes or less, just do it! Much of your email probably can be handled quickly. For example, the message may be one you can quickly read and file in an email folder. Or it may only require a simple answer. Whenever possible, use quick responses like "Thanks", "Got it", "Yes", or "I will" to save time.  



Some messages you receive can be delegated to others. After you forward the email that you are delegating, delete it from your Inbox or move it into your email folder system for later follow up if necessary.


4.    DEFER

For emails that require more than 2 minutes to do, you may need to complete the action required after you are done processing your email. You can defer emails that require an action by dragging the message to your Task List. Your email program will let you set a date and time to be reminded to do the task so you won't forget about it. After the task has been put on your task list, delete the original message from your Inbox.  


Follow the 4 D's for every message you receive and you'll empty your Inbox before you know it. For older messages, you'll need to set aside some time to go through them but it will be worth the peace of mind you'll achieve.



Win Organizing Services


Stella Boutique in Evanston is holding a drawing for 2 hours of complimentary Organizing Services from Altogether Organized along with a $25 Stella Gift Certificate. You can enter to win anytime between May 1st and Mother's Day, when the drawing will be held. Stella, located at 2116 Central Street, is a fun and funky boutique carrying Women's Clothing, Artisan Jewelry, Accessories and Gifts.


No purchase is necessary to enter the drawing. 


About Altogether Organized


We help our clients feel calm, in control and productive in their homes and offices.

Here's how we help:

Home Organizing
Make your house the haven it should be.


Organizing to Show and Sell Your Home
Help a buyer to envision living in your home.


Moving/ Relocation Organizing 

Reduce stress and save time by being organized before you move-and when you reach your new place.


Design Consulting
Build organization into your new home or office.


Office Organizing/Paper Organizing
Have what you need at your fingertips.


Estate Organizing
Make a large project doable and keep only what has the most meaning.


When you're ready, we help make change possible.

empty inbox



Have you heard of Inbox Zero? The idea is to use a system to regularly reduce your email Inbox to zero so you can increase your overall productivity. This requires processing every email you receive as described in this newsletter's "Keys to Manage Your Email " rather than using your Inbox as a place to store email messages.


If you don't think you could get to zero daily, try doing it weekly. Weekends are a great time to get back to zero because there are generally fewer emails coming into your Inbox. Another option is to leave only the emails in your Inbox that are related to the tasks you will do in the next several days. Whether you do it daily or weekly or not quite to zero, it's a way to ensure you are processing your email and staying on top of everything you need to do.


If you'd like to learn more about this approach, watch an online video of Merlin Mann explaining Inbox Zero to Google employees http://inboxzero.com/video/ 


 If you have hundreds or thousands of emails in your Inbox, Mann suggests moving them all to a folder to be worked on separately and then begin Inbox Zero starting now!







 How to Get Fewer Emails


Managing your Inbox is easier when you have fewer emails in it. Here are some simple ways to reduce email overload.



If you haven't signed up, given your permission or aren't a customer of a company, they shouldn't be sending you email. Unsubscribing from email subscriptions only takes a few seconds and is well worth the time. Just scroll down to the bottom of the message and click on the link that says "Safe Unsubscribe." Repeat this process on all emails you no longer wish to receive. Soon you'll notice a real difference in the number of messages in your Inbox.


Send Less, Receive Less

Another way to cut down on the number of emails you receive is to limit the number you send. Not every message you receive requires a response. One of my colleagues applies the label "No Reply Necessary" to emails where none is required, an approach I recommend.


Create Rules

De-clutter your Inbox by using the "Rules" function in your email program to send low-priority messages directly to designated folders. For example, set up a rule to send all Facebook emails to a folder you've created for them. Then, Facebook messages will bypass your Inbox and go directly to a folder, where you can read them at your convenience.


Putting aside a small amount of time to follow these tips will help your regain control of your Inbox and save you time, something we all need more of!


 Featured Project 


Messy office

This client had a much easier time focusing on her work and getting things done after organizing her office.

clean office


Altogether Organized Has A Facebook Page!

We have been posting "before and after" pictures, organizing tips, advice and links on a weekly basis. Thanks for all the positive feedback from those of you who have been receiving them. 

Just click on this link www.facebook.com/altogetherorganized  to "LIKE" the Altogether Organized Facebook page.





Organizing Your Home

June 26, 2013   
9:30 - 11:30 am

New Trier Extension

7 Happ Road, Northfield

news flash
And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to Sandy Dellutri, the contest winner from my last newsletter of the Container Store Gift Card! 


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