It’s hard to imagine work life without email. For all its efficiency and practicality, it can also feel overwhelming and become a time-suck. With that in mind, we pulled together some best practices for organizing your inbox and keeping it clean. Some of these suggestions may not fit your working style but others could, dare we say it, change your relationship with your inbox forever. Here are some simple tips to get started:
Check your email less frequently but more purposefully.
- Constantly refreshing your inbox or having it open in the corner of your screen can be a hard habit to break. Instead, choose specific times during the day to check your inbox and take next steps. This will cut down on interruptions to your work and ensure you have the time to take action when you check your email.
Know your priorities before you dig into your inbox.
- This will help you determine what needs your attention and what can wait. Just because it’s in your inbox doesn’t necessarily mean it needs your attention immediately.
This email should have been a meeting.
- You’ve likely heard the inverse of this statement and it can be true. Yet, at times a quick check-in can be far more efficient than going back and forth over multiple emails.
When you don’t need something, delete it.
- If that feels too dire, with most email platforms, there is the option to archive a conversation. This action doesn’t delete the message but does allow you to keep it out of sight and out of mind as well as out of your inbox.
Use folders or labels to stay organized.
- Consider the topics or projects you receive emails about most and create corresponding folders or labels for them. You can also create folders that instead relate to your prioritization schedule such as, respond today, this week, this month, and FYI.
As you organize your inbox be sure to stay tuned for our newsletter and other emails that we hope are helpful and informative to you and your work. We promise we won’t clog your inbox!