There are different philosophies about email accounts, but I’m a fan of forwarding all minor accounts to my main accounts so that I only have to check email in one place. I also resist the urge to create lots of new accounts whenever given the chance.
If you’ve downloaded our password keeper (by signing up for our newsletter) you have 1 important tool you need to keep your email accounts under control. If you’ve misplaced old passwords for any particular account, now’s the time to recover them and add them to your password book. You should also note where seldom used accounts are forwarded right in your password keeper so you don’t have to remember the details.
I have different kinds of email accounts just like the example in last week’s blog post—web mail accounts and provider accounts. Although I use and love Gmail, I typically prefer to have everything come through Outlook on my desktop. Using Outlook also lets me automate my daily email backups when I backup the rest of my data, saving me lots of time and stress.
Be Warned: new and different email accounts may sound good for a hot minute, but for the most part they’re not terribly useful at any given time. It’s important to consolidate your incoming emails so that you can keep up easily and don’t have to check in too many places or you will inevitably miss something important.
Gmail (my chosen provider for personal webmail accounts) can be picked up by Outlook while leaving copies of mail on the Gmail servers for safekeeping and searching if I’m away from my computer.
Accounts with a home ISP (internet service provider) are minor accounts for me, since I’ve had to change services more times than I care to think about. I choose not to use this account at all and set it to forward to my main account so that I get service notices when they come out. I do not keep any official or personal business associated with this account. Instead I recommend using a permanent account attached to a website domain or to a Gmail address since those are less likely to have to change over time.
Official work email is just that, for work, and I do use it for my professional social networking but do not attach personal bank accounts etc. to it. Make sure you know how to pickup work emails through a webmail system if you have one. For example, some people leave work emails on the server so that they can pick them up with Outlook from a home office as needed. Others leave work emails out of their personal email mix at home all together and use their work account’s webmail interface if they have to get into that account from home. Alternately, you can forward emails that aren’t sensitive to your personal address on an as-needed basis if your work policies allow.
Set all addresses created over time for different projects to forward to a primary personal mail account, in many cases this will be a webmail account like Gmail or Yahoo—but only AFTER making careful note of their passwords.
If you use Outlook, it can be set to pick up webmail (like Gmail) for personal accounts and Internet Service Provider accounts, as well as work-related email accounts (if your policies allow) so that you can take advantage of the calendar and contacts functions on your desktop.
Yahoo email (that you have to create if you use Yahoo groups) can be set the same way—to forward to a personal account.
The most important thing to remember is that your strategy has to work for you—and that means it must be a good fit for your skills, time available, and work-related constraints. Oh yeah, and you need to keep careful track of passwords for seldom used accounts no matter what.
Spend a few minutes thinking, checking your various email account settings, and arranging an information flow that will work for you–you won’t regret it!