How to Avoid Responding to Unwanted Emails Altogether

There’s nothing worse than an inbox full of emails that don’t interest you. Attempting to process everything that comes your way can quickly suck you into a black hole. The more time you spend processing them, the less time you have to focus on important work. Here are some tips to reduce the amount of unwanted emails you receive. 

1. Tell people to contact you at a later date.

As a writer of national publications, I have received many pitches from start up companies to big brands. They hope I can include a line or two about their products or latest campaigns. While I like to include what I can when the product or service is relevant to what I write about, I often have to turn people away.

There are times when I’m too busy and I know I can’t do it. Other times I can write an article in the coming weeks. When it’s the latter of the two, I tell them to follow up at a set time in the near future. This way, I put them on hold for the time being and potentially prevent another email that can show up 3 days later. If they really want to potentially be in the article, they’ll follow up when I ask.

2. Put clear, specific guidelines on your contact page.

If you own a website, post some guidelines regarding the best way for people to reach you. Include a line or two about how you receive many requests and depending on the nature of the email that you might not respond at all. You set the expectation from the beginning and you allow yourself to be off the hook for having to reply. If a person follows up repeatedly and either didn’t read your guidelines or is just overly persistent, you might have to pop them into spam or flat out tell them you aren’t interested. Also, be sure to include the types of emails you do welcome so they know what your focus is. People can get a more accurate picture of how to align their pitch  with your goals and  message. It can possibly present a money making opportunity or other desired outcome.

3. Create an effective auto-responder.

I respect a good auto-responder. You get a reply right away giving you a clue as to whether or not you’ll get a real response down the road with a potential time frame included. Use it to reiterate your guidelines if someone didn’t bother to read them. It can also serve as a place to put the guidelines if you don’t have a website. It’s a way to cut down on unwanted emails which can free up your time to focus on what’s most important.

The Bottom Line

Getting unwanted emails can be annoying and zap your precious work time. Use the tips above to ward off email you wish you never received or don’t have time for right now. You’ll have more time to focus on important work and unclog your inbox.