Triage Important E-mail by Filtering Messages Not Addressed to You

Last Updated Aug 9, 2010 12:24 AM EDT

Strapped for time and overwhelmed by e-mail? You probably get a lot more mail than you need to actually act on each day -- and I'm not just talking about spam and newsletters. You probably get a lot of messages in which you're CC'd or BCC'd. Those for-info-only e-mails can be easily saved for later. Here's how to let your mail client automatically sort and triage those messages for you.

No matter what e-mail software you use, you can probably create a rule so that e-mail in which you're not on the To: line gets moved out of the way, so you can review it later, when you have more time.

Recently, Digital Inspiration explained how to do this for Gmail. Here's all you need to know:

  1. Click Settings and then click Filters.
  2. Click Create a new filter.
  3. In the To field, enter a dash followed by your e-mail address, as in "-davej975@gmail.com."
  4. Click Next Step.
  5. Check Skip the Inbox (Archive it) and then click Create Filter.
Now your filter is set up -- when you get a message in which you're on the CC or BCC line, it'll automatically get archived so you can review it later.

You can set up a similar rule in Outlook, by the way:

  1. Click Rules and then click Manage Rules and Alerts.
  2. Click New Rule and then click Next.
  3. Check where my name is not in the To box.
  4. Complete the rule to move the incoming message to any folder of your choice.