Updated: Apr 24
You’re not alone.
74% of consumers admit to having their inbox as a contributing factor to stress, according to a survey done by Edison Software.
We’ve compiled our straightforward tips to help curb the crazy and bring some order to your inbox.
8 Tips to an Organized Inbox:
1. Treat your inbox as a to do list. Anything that’s in your inbox should be a task that is not yet complete, i.e. you need to respond or it’s an action you have to take, etc.
2. Create folders (or labels in Gmail) with major categories. Look at the main senders or types of emails that you’re receiving. Do you run a business and receive mail frequently from social sites like Facebook or Instagram? Do you get a lot of initial consultation requests? What about emails from HR or your direct manager? This is a time to create whatever makes the most sense for you and the way you’d go about searching for an email you have on file. You can always consolidate folders later if you feel you have too many. One important tip: create a Keepers folder, or something for your personal important documents.
3. Create rules for those folders. In Outlook you can not only create a rule to have e-mails filed away in the appropriate folder when you receive them, but you can set the rule immediately for any emails currently in your inbox. Not comfortable with auto-filing? Set the rule so it helps clean up your current email, and then just go back and disable it!
4. Haven’t touched an e-mail in a month? File it, delete it, get it out of there. Having deletion anxiety? Put it in your Keepers folder for now. Next month set a date to go through it and clean out whatever you don’t truly need.
5. Set aside 15 minutes a day to go through your inbox. This helps you create your to do list for the day – thanks to the emails you’ve left being action oriented. File what you’ve done and might have forgotten to. I do this first thing in the morning and right before I’m done for the day. Pick a time of day that won’t be overwhelming to you.
6. Unsubscribe to those darn mailing lists! I find myself getting so annoyed with retailers and the amount of spam we often get as consumers. It’s the easiest thing to unsubscribe, and yet – most of us don’t actually take the second to do so. Unsub from lists you don’t need (especially those stores you’re tempted to buy from when you’re trying to save $$). They even have apps for it now – Unroll.Me specifically aims to help you de-clutter, check it out.
7. Once it’s under control, commit to making it a habit. A one-time clean-up feels great, but you have to practice daily maintenance. Email organization is not a one size fits all, and there will be some tweaking along the way.
8. Take it a day at a time. Feel like you don’t know where to even begin? Dedicate an hour a day to filter through. Once you create your system, you’ll find it comes together. Getting started is the hardest part!
Technology is a double edged sword – it can wreak havoc or work for you. Don’t let your email overwhelm you, but use it to your advantage.
Clutter – whether physical or virtual, can affect you. By taking time each day to dedicate to whatever project you set your mind to, anything is possible.
Still need a little help? We always have your back.