We’ve probably all been guilty of neglecting our emails at some point. Think about it – right now, how bad is your inbox? How many unread messages do you have screaming your name?
An overflowing inbox can feel overwhelming and affect your productivity, or cause you to avoid tackling them all together! Everyone has their own way of managing their email, some structured and some not so much but no matter your style, we’ve scoured the web to find some handy tips to help you battle that inbox and start fresh.
Tip #1: Sweep up
If you haven’t read each and every email by now, what’s the chance that you ever will? You may not necessarily need to read certain emails but you do need to have them saved, just in case. So sweep them up into folders rather than having tem sitting in your inbox – it’s a lot quicker and way more efficient.
When you do a clean-up, run a search and move a bunch of emails into that folder – its way quicker than doing them one-by-one! However, anything that needs my attention is to stay in my inbox until actioned – think of filing emails away as a tick on your checklist. It’s the ultimate satisfaction those of you who love a good list!
Tip #2: Unsubscribe
It’s time to take your name off those lists that you haven’t read in forever. Luckily for us you’re reading blogs right now! If you haven’t read it in the last 3 months chances are you won’t in the months to come.
The Apple new IOS makes this even easier with unsubscribe in the header. We all know you subscribe for a reason but even if it’s your favourite shop don’t be afraid to unsubscribe for now and come back later.
Tip #3: Out with the old
Do you find yourself hovering over that delete button and just not being able to do it! If you haven’t needed an email or referred to it recently memory – make space and remove it or place it in a folder so it’s safe for reference later.
If you come across an e-newsletter or mailing lists that you know you won’t need, organise your email by title or sender, or run a search and delete or move them all at once. You feel better already, right?
If you aren’t quite ready to make the big move, create a folder called “Later” and come back to it with fresh eyes.
Tip #4: Organise the new
Now that you’ve swept up and taken out the trash, you may like to create mailbox rules so that your incoming emails are sorted automatically!
For those daily reports you get at work but don’t need to look at until later, you can create a rule that will send them straight to a nice little folder for easy access when needed. You should be able to do this with almost all email accounts but Outlook and Gmail are pretty good at allowing you to do this seamlessly.
To make things simple, there are generally 3 types of emails:
If you work by topic, think about creating folders by key word, e.g.“Bills”. If you sort by time you may prefer to create folders by year or month, e.g. “2016,” “2017”. Now they’re out of the way, but not deleted, you can start fresh.
Labels are your best friend! Outlook and Gmail utilise these well and allow you to group related messages. Remember – the difference between folders and labels is that a message can have multiple labels but only one folder. These labels can be brightly colour-coded for easy reference (and of course to jazz up your inbox).
Tip #5: Plan for later
Are you guilty of leaving emails on your phone screen or setting reminders on your phone so you don’t forget to reply? I sure am!
Now it’s your turn! Give it a go and let us know how you went downsizing your unread mail. Or, if you have a great tip for staying on top of your emails, share it in the comments!