Keeping your inbox organised can be a challenge, with many of us opting to ignore the problem altogether. If you’re letting hundreds of new emails pile up on top of others that you haven’t got around to reading yet, you could be missing important correspondence and accidentally ignoring colleagues or clients, thereby giving a bad impression.
To stay professional, save time and stop fearing your inbox, there are some simple steps you can take. Experts from Syntax IT Support London are here to help by outlining 4 easy ways to get organised.
Take time to delete
This might take a little while the first time you go through your email, but once your inbox is organised you’ll only have to spend a few seconds each day deleting unwanted correspondence. The first step to creating a tidy inbox is to get rid of old email you don’t need, including stuff that was once useful but will not be again in future. It’s easy to become an email hoarder, but you don’t need old project threads from ten years ago or invitations to meetings you’ve already attended. Be ruthless when deleting, keeping only new emails and older ones that you’ll definitely need to refer to in future.
While you’re deleting emails, think about what you’ve subscribed to over time and how useful these emails really are. If you receive the same newsletter every week and never open it, unsubscribe. The only way you’ll get an organised inbox is to stop receiving all the content you never read, so consider which emails deserve your attention and get rid of the rest. Unsubscribe links can usually be found at the footer of emails.
Once you’ve unsubscribed from content currently in your inbox, make sure you do the same for any unwanted email you receive over the next fortnight.
Limit to 5 folders
The five-folder system is a simple way to keep on top of your inbox and prevent it from becoming unruly. Instead of organising your email into folders based on topics, try using folders based on priority and check up on them every day. These are the only five folders you need:
- Inbox: This is the folder your emails automatically drop into, but they shouldn’t stay here for long. Keep on top of your inbox by filing every email into another folder once you’ve seen it, or otherwise respond immediately if required.
- Today: File emails into this folder if they require a response today – no exceptions.
- This Week: This is where you can move all emails that require a response by the end of the week.
- This Month: If an email requires a longer timeframe for response, file it in a monthly folder and deal with it only when necessary.
- FYI: Here, you can save those emails which you may need to refer to later. Invitations, project details and other information can be easily found if all contained within one dedicated folder.
This is a great system, but it does require the commitment to stick to it and be ruthless in your organising and deleting. Once you have decided an email needs a same-day response, you must ensure you deal with it and remove it from the folder before the start of a new day.
Use your calendar
To keep on top of your inbox, it’s vital to stop using your email as a to do list. People often leave emails in their inbox after reading them to serve as a reminder, but we rarely see these emails again at the right time and they are taking up valuable space. When you read an email and need to be reminded about something later, schedule a to-do in your calendar instead. This way, you’ll receive a handy notification at the right time and your inbox can stay uncluttered.
For anyone who wants to stay professional and keep on top of their business, these tips are a lifesaver. Organising your email will save your sanity and is an easy way to boost productivity.