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07 September 2011
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Q. How can I control the amount of email I get? It threatens to swamp me.

A. Email overload is a problem. People take different approaches to it. Some make sure their inbox is empty at the end of each working day. Some ignore email completely and eventually their inbox becomes so full that the internet service provider refuses to accept new email for them and bounces incoming mail. A reasonable approach is somewhere in the middle. There is an email charter online which seeks to change everyone's behaviour for the better and reduce all our email, see emailcharter.org On a personal level, here are some suggestions:

  • Only copy people in to emails who need to receive the information.
  • Keep emails brief.
  • Use clear subject headings.
  • If you are replying to an email, don't copy all the correspondence that has gone before, unless you really need to.
  • Unsubscribe from all the junk that you never read.
  • Use a 'throw away' email address for online shopping and message boards.
  • Change your primary email address and only give out the new one to people you want to correspond with. Remember that email should not be used to transmit patient identifiable clinical information, as it is not a secure communications medium.
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