Bulging email inboxes are stressing us out. Email and the Internet are tools that most office-based workers cannot function effectively without – for many when the Internet crashes we’re hamstrung!

New research from Pew Research Internet Project shows that while nearly 40% (of the sample of 1000 Americans) report the Internet increases their flexibility of work, 35% say it’s increasing the hours they work.

Our ‘always on’ culture means not only are we checking constantly throughout the workday (interrupting other tasks to check in, get distracted by other trains of thought/issues) but we’re also checking late into the night and on weekends (thanks to our third hand, the smartphone) just to keep on top of the information popping in.

Getting your inbox trim is easy.

Keeping it trim, well that’s another blog post… but research shows the optimal number of times to check your email and manage stress around email is just three times a day (not an hour!)

If you use a platform/interface like Gmail there are already options here and here for how to keep your personal emails separate from your newsletters and social notifications. I love that it groups conversation threads together and I tend to archive anything that doesn't require action – so my inbox doubles as a ‘to do’ list. Most platforms have ways of setting rules to filter the important stuff from the fluff – learn how to use them!

Here’s the best thing I discovered for cleaning up my inbox – Unroll.me.

Unroll.me allows you, in a single click, to unsubscribe from email lists OR to add the subscription to your ‘Rollup’ which then sends you a single digest of all your subscriptions in one neat email.

I was stunned when I used it and found myself culling my email subscriptions from over 300 lists to just 45. Psychologically it’s so much easier to manage when you can see the important messages from the ‘when I have time I’d love to read that newsletter’ list.

Do you have a tip on how to manage your email and avoid overwhelm? Let me know.

Image Credit: My Inbox! Yes, that's actually what my Inbox looks like today.