How to handle information overload at work

by Annie Tang in Blog

DatePosted on March 10, 2015 at 03:45 PM
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You're inundated with work, volumes of emails are building up and there simply aren't enough minutes to deal with everything.  How would you deal with this situation?

Here are some useful practical tips to help you handle and categorise mass information:


  • Try to prioritise – distinguish what is the most important to deal with first and get onto it right away
  • Create a 'to do' list to help remind you of outstanding emails and other tasks and tick them off when done
  • Make a decision or reply to an email where necessary
  • Delete junk and low priority emails
  • File emails into clearly marked folders and/or save them on your hard drive
  • Regularly clear out your delete and sent box to avoid overload
  • Always, ALWAYS, clean your actual desk at the end of each day.  Psychologically speaking, returning to a cleared, welcoming desk first thing in the morning will always set you up positively for the rest of the day.  And your office cleaner will love you for doing so! 


  • Never let your inbox become overloaded with unanswered emails, but
  • don't read your email first thing in the morning or last thing at night — give at least 15 minutes each side
  • Avoid reading, re-reading and re-reading the same emails without making a decision about what to do with them
  • Try not to leave your emails inside your inbox, create folders
  • Don't delete important emails, instead, file them where you can easily retrieve them for ease of future reference
  • Don’t forget to save attachments as well
  • Don’t answer in haste as everything in writing can be used as evidence against you!
  • Don’t let your inbox become filled with articles and updates (best to create a folder so that you can peruse them in your spare time)


About the Author

Annie Tang

Annie is a co-Managing Director of Star Anise, focusing on in-house legal roles. She is a former practising Hong Kong lawyer and a mother of two.

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