If you are like me (& most people), your email inbox is full to overflowing on a daily basis. If it wasn’t for the search function I would have no chance of finding anything most of the time! I decided to make a change and have written up some tips on how to organise your email inbox.
Step 1: Bulk Delete
Find some addresses or subject lines that your frequently receive emails from and search for emails using this criteria. You can then bulk delete these in one go. Things like daily deals, mailing lists, Facebook notifications etc all clog up your inbox and are not usually things you need to keep long term.
Once you’ve deleted the main culprits sort your inbox by date and weed out all the old and out of date emails in one bulk lot.
Step 2: Create Folders
Ultimately the best plan is to have an empty inbox at the end of each day or week. I’m slowly moving my way towards managing my emails like this and the key is folders.
Think about the common emails your receive and decide how you’d like to sort things and what makes most sense. You could sort by description or by sender but generally sorting by what the email is about is the best technique.
Things like: Ideas for the home, recipes, invitations, insurance, payment confirmations, receipts etc for personal stuff or by project, work task etc for work related emails. Keep it specific but manageable. If your folders are too specific you won’t be able to find things but the same goes for very general folders that end up more like mini inboxes.
You can also have a folder for follow up, current week, current month etc for things that need to be monitored. At the end of each week or month you can go through and delete or file.
Step 3: Allocate to folders as soon as an email comes in
Even if you don’t plan on reading an email right away, still allocate it to a folder. Even if that’s a “to do” or “follow up” folder. This way things don’t become lost in your inbox.
Step 4: Unsubscribe
If you receive emails from mailing lists that you are no longer interested in, don’t just delete them every time they arrive. Go in and click the unsubscribe link. It’s usually right at the top or right at the bottom. You can also use maelstrom to bulk unsubscribe from things if you use certain email providers (such as gmail). I just use the free version but they do have a paid version. The free one works fine for me so I’ve just stuck with it.
Start NOW. It may take you a bit of time but work through a little bit each day and you’ll get there.