Remember when getting a new email was fun? Not that long ago, it was the best place to find an opportunity to succeed at work or information about a hobby you love. Now, you have 1500 unread emails every week – and it’s not so fun anymore. How can you dig out of your inbox mess and sort through the de-clutter to actually make email useful again?
Organizing your email helps you be more productive, respond to important items quickly, and reduce the risk of losing or missing something. Organize your email with the mom-friendly strategies below.
Organize Your Inbox With 5 Simple Strategies
1. Reduce Incoming Email
Unsubscribe from newsletters and sales flyers you no longer want by using the “unsubscribe” option. Most newsletters have this feature built right into the email they send so no need leave your inbox. Just go to the bottom of the email and click “unsubscribe.”
Delete/Block Spam & Send to Junk
For that pesky email that you’re not sure where it came from, simply mark as “spam” or “junk”. This will not only keep it from showing up in your inbox later but in most email clients, will remove current instances.
2. Separate Non-Urgent Emails
Separating the non-urgent email from your inbox allows you to address items in a more organized fashion.
Set up rules
Setting up a “rule” allows you to push reoccurring email into a specific folder. This allows you to set aside time for specific reoccurring tasks without having to root through your inbox. For example, setting a schedule to review customer inquiries from your website on Monday and Wednesday between 2-4pm, or sending social notifications to a specific folder.
3. Delete Emails
It may be scary to hit the delete button, but rest assured that with modern email technology, you will be able to find something if you need it. Get rid of as many emails as possible. If you’re concerned about missing something, you can reference an email in the future by archiving it.
4. Establish a Workflow/Process for Keeping Your Inbox Organized
Check email LESS often
It may seem counter-intuitive, but only check your email when you have the time to actually process it. Allot yourself enough time to skim through your inbox and file, read, delete, and make decisions as appropriate.
Archive at the beginning of the year
Sometimes, it’s easier to start fresh. If your Inbox is truly overwhelming you may have to consider just moving all your “Pre 2017” emails to a separate folder.
Use your inbox as an action item list
File, archive, or delete anything that you have already completed or that does not require action of any kind. If you do need to complete action items, click here for a guide to helping you convert an email to a task in Gmail or Outlook with the click of a button.
5. Other Ideas
Use a service like Unroll.me that will automatically file all your newsletters and subscriptions. Or try a new app for helping to stay organized on the go like Dispatch for iPhone or Boxer for Android.
The process of organizing email can be overwhelming at first. These strategies are just the beginning of ways to keep your inbox manageable. Consider reading some other approaches like Inbox Zero or this great article on Better Email Habits from fellow organizer, Deb Cabral.