Do you guys ever feel like your inbox is trying to suffocate you? That’s pretty much me on a daily basis.
As someone with five different email addresses (yes, I said five), it’s an accomplishment if I can go two minutes without my phone buzzing with an email notification. And, while it’s definitely gotten harder to stay organized as I’ve gotten busier, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that help me keep myself from weeping every time I open my email.
Curious? Here are a few tactics that should help you keep your emails in order—even when you feel like you’re drowning in them.
If I could sing the praises of email folders all day, I would. I think they’re a great way to keep things organized and orderly—plus it makes it easy to find those messages you need to look back at.
For example, I have one umbrella email folder called “Freelance Work”. In there, I’ll dump any emails from prospective clients, newsletters with helpful information, and anything else that I might want to hang onto.
Underneath that folder, I have another folder for every single client I’m working with. It’s a great way for me to keep track of any correspondence or important facts that have to do with that client specifically.
Of course, outside of my work, I have plenty of other folders like “Finances” and “Receipts”. I also used to have folders for “House Hunt” or “Wedding”. You can never have too many folders, if you ask me.
Admittedly, I’m guilty of this myself. I’m always hesitant to get rid of any messages—it just feels so permanent.
But, if you want to prevent your inbox from completely spiraling out of control, you can’t be afraid to delete those messages that you know you’re never going to need again—like your brother’s Christmas list from two years ago. There’s no use keeping it if you don’t think it’ll be helpful or necessary in the future. And, the more you delete, the cleaner your email account is—making it simpler to find the things you actually do need.
You know those people that just let messages continue to pile up in their inboxes—until suddenly there’s 900 messages sitting there with no rhyme or reason? Ahem, my husband, ahem.
I always recommend that you don’t treat your inbox as yet another storage folder. Instead, reserve it for those things that you’re currently working on or that you need to take action on.
By doing so, your inbox becomes an actionable to-do list of sorts. You can open up your email and immediately see the things you need to take care of—they’re sitting there waiting for you.
Then there are those pesky little emails that require a response. But, they don’t involve a huge time commitment. It’s a client asking you for a W9. A friend firming up lunch plans. Your aunt asking for your address.
Responding takes almost no time at all. Yet, you let them sit there and stack up until those minute tasks seem almost overwhelming.
Resist the urge to let things slide and take action on those small things right away. It’ll take you 30 seconds to fire off a response—and then you can just move that email thread out of your way and know it’s dealt with.
Email has become a big part of all of our lives. And, staying on top of it can seem like a separate full-time job at times. So, what do you do to keep your inbox organized? I’m always looking for new tips!
Until next time!