Email Mess, solutions:


Like all situations the solution to this email mess is more complicated than identifying the problem.  For purposes of being concise in this blog, the steps needed to be taken are listed in bullet point order.  If you have question or wish a more detailed explanation please email us and we will reply to all questions in detail.

The solutions are divided between Organizational and Individual needs and action steps.


  1. Establish protocols as to who is responsible for keeping email communications.
  2. Establish how long information should be kept. (This may need legal counsel input.)
  3. Give clear permission to discard information.
  4. Advise how long emails will be kept on corporate server.
  5. Explain, in user terms, storage capacity limits as far as the Inbox and folder system.
  6. State all information in user-friendly terms.


  1. Develop and Implement PEP subject based filing system focused on the retrieval of information: 1-Working, 2-Reference, 3-Archive, 4-Personal.
  2. Develop “5-Old Email” Folders for temporary storage of old emails.
  3. Establish what emails have lost all value & delete them.  (in the 80% range)
  4. Identify what emails have “probably” lost value to be placed in the temporary ”5-Old Emails Folders” (in the 15% range)
  5. Determine if several 5-Old Email folders needed to reflect date-aging groupings?
  6. Use electronic calendar to established PEP maintenance schedule and review/discard of 5-Old Email folder/s if used.
  7. Begin moving emails into created email folder system.  Allocate some sufficient time to begin movement of remaining emails to newly created folder system.
  8. Establish how much more time is needed to complete this project.
  9. Set scheduled appointments on electronic calendar to complete project.
  10. Long airplane trips are ideal time to work on this type of project.
  11. New Inbox emails must be addressed daily basis even if older emails are still in Inbox.
  12. Use “Rules” to automatically move Incoming emails into the correct folders.
  13. Embrace rule that there will be “no scroll bar showing in the Inbox at the end of the work day.”
  14. Set “reset times” after vacations or other events which do not allow addressing Inbox routinely.
  15. Use “Out of Office” or other notifications to reduce email follow-ups and give decision making information to others.
  16. Set quarterly system maintenance/update appointments on electronic calendar.


After conscientious implementation efforts, supported by several follow-up meetings with their PEP coach, this person commented that “This was hard to do but worth the effort.  I do not see a scroll bar in my Inbox and will never go back to my ineffective way of handling my emails.”

Bary Sherman, PEPworldwide US

Johan Chr. Holst, PEPww Norway, Redaktør

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