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Tips and Tricks To Organizing Your Emails


I've been on a decluttering and reorganizing binge for the last year, so, recently I thought to myself, why am I not decluttering and reorganizing my emails 🤔.

How many of you have:

  1. Multiple email accounts?

  2. Tons of messages in our inboxes?

  3. Numerous subscription emails?

  4. Missed important messages because it's hidden in #2 above?

  5. Too little time to read and sort?

If you've answered yes to any of the above then it's time to #organize your emails.

Emails can be burdensome and overwhelming, but for some people, the more emails they have the more important they believe their role to be. Not every email requires an answer; truth be told, not every email is even worth reading. However, in order to get your life on track and remove the email noose from around your neck, you need to develop new habits and stick to them. And, if you fall off for a day or two just get back on track right away. Believe me, having a clutter free email helps you:

  • stay on top of your game,

  • reduce anxiety (yes too many emails can cause anxiety),

  • improve your response time,

  • increase your efficiency .

My Inbox - decluttering & reorganizing in progress

I have not always had my emails in-check. As a matter of fact, at one point in time I was being ruled by my emails. Currently I manage 7 email accounts - 3 work and 4 personal. IT USE TO BE A MESS. A few still are, like the picture above with over 7,000 emails and 32 sub-folders. Thankfully, reorganizing is in progress. It is a process. My main work email for example had 21 sub-folders. You know those other boxes we create and either filter things to them or manually move them there and sometimes never go back to them? Yeah, those! Now I can proudly say that email has only 6 such folders and lots more email storage space. IT CAN BE DONE PEOPLE! But it takes a little time and effort, some will-power and a whole lot of letting go. It won't be easy at first, but gets easier over time. The more I organize them, the lighter I feel and you will too.

Here are my TOP 10 TO-DO's when it comes to organizing email inboxes.

  1. Schedule email time. Just like how you schedule your meetings and exercise routines, schedule time for checking emails. This can be done in small portions, for example, schedule 3, 20-30 minute slots throughout the day. You decide how much time you need, but schedule it and stick to it. I find that doing a morning, afternoon and night thing works for me. However, for business related accounts, and sometimes for your personal accounts, you can do what I call a "spot check" once per hour just to make sure you are not missing an urgent matter. And frankly, if it were extremely urgent, you'd have gotten a phone call.

  2. Create a filing system. Zach Hanlon says we should strive to only have 5 folders; Inbox, FYI, Today, This Week, This Month. For heaven's sake, try avoid using subject matters to create folders - that's the proverbial rabbit hole. I mentioned before that my main work email had 21 sub-folders, now that's down to 6. @RhettPower says, one should use the FAST System - "Once you read it, decide whether to File it, Assign it to someone, Store (or Scan) for future reference, or Trash it." I use a combination of both but I call mine "TOUCH IT ONCE." Natasha in "27 Email Management Tips From ‘Inbox Zero’ People," calls her method the "OHIO method—Only Handle It Once."

  3. Create a Filter System. We all get bulk e