Posted On January 4, 2016 by Print This Post

5 Easy Tips for Dealing with Email by Kayelle Allen

Are you getting buried under your email? Start the New Year off with the organizational skills of author Kayelle Allen!

Kayelle AllenI get hundreds of emails each week, but my inbox is never out of control, and I can usually find any email I need within a few moments. Am I clairvoyant? No. Do I have an assistant? Not for email. Am I just naturally organized? Well, go look at my kitchen and then decide. No… I have simply applied some basic rules to handling it. They all begin with the letter F. I’ve shared these rules with fellow authors in the Marketing for Romance Writers group, and it’s proven helpful. Here are the basics.


  1. Folders

Take a look at your email and jot down a generalized list of who emails you. Is it friends? Family? Publisher? Promo people? Newsletters? The people whose email you keep should have their own folders. Rather than give each member of your family a folder, you might consider one big happy folder instead. Have another for friends. If you have besties, by all means give them their own spots. Don’t be afraid to create new folders. What you want to avoid is 500 folders, each with three emails in it. I don’t have a “Misc” folder. Everything has a place. In the next section, I’ll list some specific folders I use for automatically filing email that might be helpful for you.

  1. Filters

Most email programs have a filter system. Did you know you can set up messages to bypass your inbox and go straight into a designated folder? Talk about time savers! Don’t worry about missing messages. Most system will bold the name of the folder and/or add a number in parentheses to show the folder contains unread messages. Here are items I autofilter:





Once a day I open these folders and wade through them. Because I use Tweetdeck to manage Twitter, I usually delete the Twitter emails unread. You could set up Twitter not to send them, but that might play havoc with other systems that use those notifications (such as phone apps). So I autofile them and then delete. To be honest, I probably delete well over 100 emails a day unread. There’s no way to keep up with all of it and still have time to write. That’s why having a system that helps you organize and find the important messages is vital.

  1. Finding

I can easily see what needs attention in my Facebook folder by sorting the folder by subject. In another folder, I might want to sort by sender. In my inbox, it might be by unread. You can easily change that by either clicking on the top of the row or by selecting a “view by” or “sort by” drop down menu. Most systems also have a find program that lets you search your email. I’ve used my personal email for over 11 years, and it has tens of thousands of messages. That search program is a godsend. Also, name your folders in such a way that you can easily tell what’s in them. If you abbreviate, be consistent.

  1. Filing

Once you’ve read an email, file it. Don’t procrastinate. Put it in a folder and move on. That’s it. Simple. File it, and then forget it.

Keep it in your inbox ONLY if it still requires action.

  1. Flinging

This means tossing. You don’t have to keep everything. How do you know what to toss? Will you need the email to prove something such as purchase, copyright, or licensing? Is it a fan letter? Is it a thank you that’s more than just “thanks”? Will you need the info in the future? Does it make you feel awesome to read it? If the answer to any of these is yes, keep it. If it doesn’t toss it. If you really aren’t sure, make a “maybe” folder and put it there. If you need it, it will be there. If you don’t, toss it later. But don’t make that folder into a giant “decide later” folder. The purpose of flinging stuff is to pare down the dross. It’s like editing. Only keep what forms the story. Email is part of your career-story. Make it good.

That’s my five step program for handling email. As you can see, it’s not hard. If you haven’t started yet, now is a good time. Make folders, and then spend a few minutes every day going through your inbox. File, toss, and move on. You’ll be organized and that inbox will look great. Well, at least until more email comes tomorrow.


What helpful hints do you have for organizing your email? Share!

Join us on Wednesday for Virginia Kelly!


Bio:Kayelle Allen is a best-selling, award-winning author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr. She is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers and the owner of The Author’s Secret.

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7 Responses to “5 Easy Tips for Dealing with Email by Kayelle Allen”

  1. Morning Kayelle…

    I’ve always wanted to try to the filing system, but am afraid I’ll miss something. Right now everything comes to my inbox, then i put it in a file after I’ve acted on it. Or sits in my inbox staring at me. =) Email guilt syndrome. =)

    Ok, tonight I’ll set up filters..see if that can cut some time out of my day….I’d already started going through the “unsubscribe” buttons on a lot of emails last week, trying to cut down on the 200+ emails a day I’m getting!

    Thanks for another great post!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | January 4, 2016, 8:40 am
    • I know how that feels, Carrie. It’s scary, but believe me, when you start using it, you’ll get so much more organized. The bonus of this system is that things like newsletters you love to keep will already be in their folder. No additional work is required. And the things that come to your inbox are the new things that you really need to see now. Good luck!

      Posted by Kayelle Allen | January 4, 2016, 8:58 am
  2. Great info! I’m definitely doing the Folders (although the other day I started to create on that I already had!), but I don’t really do the Filtering. I think I’m going to give that a go. The hardest for me is Flinging. I’m such a packrat. LOL I’m feeling inspired now though. 🙂

    Posted by Donna Cummings | January 4, 2016, 6:55 pm
  3. Oh man, you must be psychic! I finally whittled my unread emails down from 350+ to under 200, and then a batch of frantic emails from my siblings (my mother has been in the hospital, so we have lots of emails going back and forth with the latest updates on her condition) had knocked it back up again. I do have folders, and every day I go through and weed out spam and advertising emails, but there are always a bunch of work related emails I can’t just delete. Some days I don’t even open my emails, I just can’t face all of those waiting-to-be-dealt-with messages. I like the idea of filters – I’m going to check that out. Thanks for the very helpful suggestions!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | January 5, 2016, 12:04 am
    • Dealing with email is one of the worst things in life unless you have it under control. This system works and I’ve used it for years. It’s helped me stay on top of things. The trick is not to ignore the filed unread messages. My biggest timesaver is having most things prefiled for me — all I have to do is answer it or delete it. No decisions needed about where to put it. And that is a little less stress. I hope your mom is soon fine. (hugs)

      Posted by Kayelle Allen | January 5, 2016, 10:05 am


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