Five Keys to Tidying Up Your Inbox

We all have our favorite method of communication, some prefer phone calls, some like text messages, others like Facebook messenger or DM’s. I will confess, I like EMAIL. I like it because everything is in one place and I can consistently see what work I have to get done by how many emails are sitting in my inbox.

I know so many people that say they get too many emails, or they don’t like emails. I am a little too good at managing and organizing my emails (and have a secret passion for organizing other’s inboxes as well). So, I’m going to share with you my TOP 5 tips to keep your inbox squeaky clean.

  1. Procrastination is Not Your Friend When it Comes to Your Inbox

    You know those emails that have been sitting at the bottom of your inbox since February? Chances are high that they will probably still be sitting at the bottom in July. Give yourself a time limit on when you will get back to people. Gmail / G-Suite does this awesome thing now where it has you follow up with people that you sent an email to days ago and have yet to hear a reply. It’s called a “nudge”. It also nudges you when you haven’t responded yet. Some people find checking their email twice a day is the best method, others do it throughout the day. When I am home working, I check mine throughout the day and respond quickly to emails that take a quick response. For lengthier replies, I typically use the hour right before I delve into work (or when I am randomly up at 5am) and the hour I am wrapping things up.

  2. It’s OK to Delete, and Unsubscribe.

    If you do get emails on your phone, it can be really easy to hit that trash button as they come in. I would challenge you one day to NOT to this. Let them sit and make you uncomfortable for one day. All the ones you don’t read and just instantly delete, take some time to UNSUBSCRIBE instead. Make a day of it! Use the Marie Kondo method, does this email spark joy? No? Unsubscribe! Am I ever really going to use this DAILY Michael’s coupon? No? UNSUBSCRIBE! Always getting alerts about sites you don’t need alerts from? GOODBYE!

  3. Remember When Hanging File Drawers with all of those Perfectly Organized Files?

    Your inbox can do that too! You can create Categories and under those categories Labels (which for you visuals, you can color code). I LOVE this! For example, my categories are: Personal, Travel, Chamber of Commerce, Professional Assisting, Networking, She Built This, etc. My LABELS are names of specific events under each so I can keep track of all those he said she said threads. Specific Client names so when I have finished with an email of theirs, I can drop it right into their folder for safe-keeping. My goal by Friday is to have a nearly empty inbox because everything is filed. I also do this with my Downloads folder on my computer, any loose photos that need to be filed and anything on my desktop. My filing system on my computer mirrors my email inbox and Google Drive folder so finding things is pretty much a cake walk! Your brain loves to mentally file things away, so try it! When it’s done and now awaiting THEIR reply, file it and forget it! Remember, Google will nudge you.

  4. Delegate Inbox Management

    If it’s really out of control, or you simply don’t have time, there is no shame in having a VA or assistant to hand things off to and help clean things up a bit.

  5. Develop New Habits

    Doing a little bit everyday and you will do wonders for your inbox. Consistency is key. Commit yourself to trying a new inbox habit for one week and let me know if you get great results and feel less overwhelmed!

What other things can tend to overwhelm you? What email tips and tricks do you recommend and what do you get hung up on? Do you get emails on your phone? Why or why not?