Can you find that important email when you need it? Does your inbox serve YOU? It may be be time to organize your email.
Everyone on the planet, except for my aunts and uncles, uses email. Something I’ve noticed, however, is that we use it differently.
–> My husband never deletes a message.
–> A friend rarely saves an email, clicking delete with relish.
–> Another friend has 2 million unopened emails in her inbox.
–> I find myself a combination of methods with lots of folders for filing “important” emails and my inbox acts as a work list.
How to Organize Your Email
Wherever you find yourself on the Time-Space-Delete-Continuum, your email inbox should serve you. It shouldn’t be someplace you dread to go. It’s a tool for communication and record-keeping.
1. Set a goal for your inbox.
Currently, my goal for my inbox is to keep no more than 50 emails in there at a time. I can see all of those on one page in Gmail.
I use my inbox as a to-do list for work. Each week, I set aside time to bulk delete things that aren’t necessary to life (newsletters, shipping confirmation, etc). Typically, I delete these from my phone as the day progresses, but on busy days that doesn’t always happen.
2. File appropriately.
I keep separate files for comments yet to be answered or articles I want to read but don’t have time for. The inbox is purely for things that need action.
3. Clean it out regularly.
It’s really important that once you find a system that suits you, that you keep up with it. Seasons of life will get crazy. And if you do things digitally, very important documents can filter through your email inbox. This year, I don’t think we were even sent a paper rental lease for the house we live in. We did all sending, signing, and receiving via email. You don’t want a mess inbox. Keep up with your system so that your inbox is a tool that helps you.
You can organize your email.
But, my inbox didn’t used to serve me. In fact, it was a pretty horrible mess. I’m thrilled that it’s not that way anymore. I’m pretty confident that you can turn your inbox around as well.
Want to organize your email? Awhile back, I wrote about how I reformed my inbox, in very specific steps. It was such a great move toward bring more order to my chaos.
Check out my 7-STEP PROGRAM TO EMAIL SUCCESS.
Something that’s also helped me is AmyLynn’s post on Setting up Canned Responses.