The 3 WORST Best Practices for Email Management

best practices email management

I’ve been writing about so many of the best practices for email management that by now you’re probably wondering: “Okay Sarah, I have a good idea of how to do this well…but what if I’d rather screw it all up?”

Luckily, there’s a system for that too.

The Failed ARTT Email Productivity System (we’ll save you the acronym on that one) is designed to give you unnecessary challenges that’ll seriously test you to see if you’re a competent professional. You’ll no longer be skating by on solid professional practices, nor will you be able to get everything accomplished that you need to. 

With this guide you’ll finally have the opportunity to totally, and completely, implement the 3 worst best practices for email management that’ll ensure continued failure.

Buckle up with a broken seat belt, and get ready for this bumpy ride…

1. Flag Everything, Overwhelm Will Motivate You

We all get junk mail, or responses to things we’ve already finished and don’t need to revisit. Instead of organizing them into your email folder filing cabinet, just flag it and mark it as important! 

In fact, go one step further and add an “IMPORTANT!” label to every email (all-caps and exclamation point required) and all in the same bright-red color. You don’t want to be discerning what takes priority – everything should take priority with this system. After all, that’s why you are leaving it all in your inbox, right?

2. Mark Everything as “Unread” (Even if You Already Read it)

By marking everything as “unread”, you’ll remember to go back to that email again at a later time. This is a great technique. Whenever possible, touch every important, semi-important, or lowest priority email at least 2 to 3 times. Use the mark as “unread” to help you organize and prioritize your emails.

It doesn’t matter if your boss needs something done in an hour, or if the client didn’t get a spreadsheet they needed yesterday. Everything feels so important that it makes sense to mark it as “unread” so that you can later pretend it just came into your inbox and get it done at some point in the future. This technique is likely working quite well for you, and you’re not missing anything or dropping the ball at any time.

3. If You’re Patient They’ll Email Again

People are annoying. There’s no getting around that. Yes, they’re paying you to do a job, but do they even realize that you haven’t binged part 1 of the last season of Ozark yet??

Doubt it. (Also, very rude of them to assume you’d rather be working than seeing what Marty Byrd is up to. Reevaluate if you even want their money…)

So go ahead and mark that email as read after marking it unread, leaving it in your inbox amongst the others, and wait a few days. If they don’t email again, that just proves it really wasn’t important in the first place. Even the bills you don’t pay give you second, third, and final notices – this is your client’s opportunity to show they’re just as professional. 

Make them prove their worth. When you think about it, you’re doing them a favor…

What Next?

Now that you know some of the worst “best practices” in managing your inbox, it’s time to realize that this guide really is a demonstration of what’s wrong with our current professional landscape. People who are deliberately taking the time to not do their job are hurting you, and aren’t the ones you want having your back in times of crisis. 

And you don’t want to be that person either. 

So instead of Fail-ARTTing your way through work, take the ARTTful approach, and learn some real tips and tricks that’ll ensure you aren’t ‘that person’, and instead are the go-to person people want to work with! Learn some of the real tips to operate on a (mostly) touch-once philosophy and upgrade your skills and techniques when using email.


This complimentary 45-minute webinar will help you learn how to feel in control of your inbox, be more responsive to important collaborators, reduce your anxiety and stress, and take the hot air (yes, pun intended) out of bad inbox practices. Tame the Email Beast!

ARTT™ demonstrates time-saving techniques within Outlook primarily; however, the concept is platform-agnostic.  It is about teaching your human habits connected to technology (whether Outlook, Gmail, or FARTT Mail…ok, that’s not a real one, but it would be a terrible email program if it did exist). 

Register for your favorite date today and I look forward to having you at the program.

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Email Productivity with ARTT™

The ARTT™ Email Productivity Service will help you take control of your inbox and let you decide how YOU want your day to go. No more working against a never-ending email to-do list. It is time for you to master the ARTT™ of email.