Most of your business correspondence will be via email. Not only is it fast and easy to send an email out to one or more people, it’s also simple to respond and reply. But the speed and ease of email messaging also brings with it a rather large downside – we’re often inundated with them and find ourselves copied into emails, many of which are unnecessary!

When it comes to email etiquette, spamming is a definite no-no. However, it’s often our own work colleagues and team members that are doing the spamming! This includes sending emails that aren’t needed and copying you in on emails that don’t really concern you. Because often, you’re being sent emails out of politeness not necessity.

So if your inbox is getting out of control purely because others are copying you in, here’s a few ways you can solve that problem.

Make it a rule to respond to the right recipient when you’re copied into emails

When several people are copied into emails, responding can get really messy for everyone! Often, there are separate conversations going on within the same email thread, as people are getting clarity and asking questions of others.

To help eliminate this, it’s worth making it a rule that you respond to the right recipient. Use the ‘To’ field to decide if your reply needs to go to all, to the main recipient only, or if you need to forward it to a specific person. And if you’re getting copied into email conversations that don’t involve you, it may be worth reminding everyone that they have the option to tailor who they’re replying to!

Make use of smart automations

Another way to narrow down the emails you receive in your inbox is to use automations. You may find yourself receiving emails that you don’t need to action, but need a copy on file for information purposes. If that’s the case, set up an automation rule to file in a specific folder within your email account. You could also set up an automation to cover any emails you need to cover back. This will initially get them out of your inbox, but automating a nudge if they haven’t been responded to after a certain period of time.

Keep your inbox organised

It’s often your inbox that adds to those feelings of overwhelm. If it’s full of emails it will make you feel like you’re constantly playing catch up. So ensure you’re keeping it organised and clear (as much as possible!). Auto-filing is a great way to reduce inbox overwhelm. If you’re looking for additional inbox organisation tips, check out these two blog posts: How to organise your inbox and keep it under control  and also Stop inbox overwhelm.

Remind your team of email etiquette

If you’re managing a team it’s worth reminding them of the key points of email etiquette. Often, communication is key and if you’re being copied into emails that you don’t need or don’t need to be a part of, it’s down to a lack of understanding around email etiquette.

Set clear guidelines for email communication and what projects, subjects etc, you need to be included in. Remind them that email may be easy, but it isn’t always necessary – and of course, not everything needs or warrants a response! Communicate how your email platform works, so they know they don’t have to automatically reply to all. And also give them the freedom to pick the best form of communication for the task at hand.

Ask yourself if there’s a better way to respond

Because email isn’t always the best communication method. There’s a lot of toing and froing going on when you email. Often, an instant message, simple video chat or telephone call may just be quicker and easier for all involved.

Why? Because they often cut out the unnecessary time delays involved with email correspondence. You’re often waiting for someone to check in on their emails before you receive a reply – and with more people learning how to manage their emails and limit check-in frequency, it could mean you don’t receive an answer until the next day or two.

Because email may be fast and easy, but it isn’t always necessary. If you want to minimise the amount of time you spend in your inbox and limit the number of times you’re copied into emails, communication is key. You need to clearly communicate your requirements as well as your preferences – and often that means reminding others of the basis around email etiquette and clear communication.


Check out my Get Organised Package where we sort out your inbox for good. Setting you up for success in seeing critical emails and not being distracted or overwhelmed in your inbox.