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Use Multiple E-mail Accounts to Help Prioritize Your Messages

For some of us, staying on top of e-mail is nearly a full-time job in itself. As a result, I am always on the lookout for anything that'll make it easier to manage my inbox and reduce the pain involved in dealing with the daily inbox grind.

Here's a way to automatically filter the important from the unimportant without needing to resort to flags, filters, categories, or any of the other handy but labor intensive tools built into Outlook and other mail clients.

This comes courtesy of reader Matt Brown, who say this has worked well for him for several years. Simply put, give different e-mail accounts to different people depending upon who they are and the urgency of dealing with their communication. You might hand out three e-mails on a regular basis, for instance:

  • Business mail. This is your corporate e-mail address or, if you work for yourself, your company's primary mail address. Give this out to co-workers, clients, partners, leads, and anyone else whom you would reasonably want to get back to right away.
  • Low priority mail. This secondary address is the one you give to friends and family and anyone else whom you can get back to a few days later without doing harm to your business.
  • Junk mail. This account is handy for signing up for newsletters, creating accounts on Web sites, and other situations in which you can look at the stuff that dribbles in whenever you get around to it -- or never, at your discretion.
Be sure to configure your e-mail client to place messages from these three accounts in separate inboxes. That way, the mail stays automatically filtered and separate, and you can deal with each one on the timetable each deserves.

And while you're here, be sure to check out some of our other ways to streamline your time in Outlook:

Photo by by Jim Epler