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Organizing your emails. Email, ugh! Our inbox seems to pile up to an overwhelming size. Subscriptions, optins, bills, promotions, notifications and the occasional email from a friend (that is like the prize at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box!). Staying on top of it without missing something important can take chunks of our time.
Two Approaches for Organizing Your Emails
There are two great approaches to tackling the clutter in your email inbox. The first is the Action Plan. In this approach, you are organizing your emails according to the time frame that the email needs to be responded to or otherwise dealt with. Each email provider has a function to allow you to set up folders. At the bottom of this post, I have included links for directions on setting up file folders for the most popular email providers.
- Inbox: the inbox is a holding “cage. Emails shouldn’t stay here any longer than it takes for you to file them into another folder. The exception to this rule is when you respond immediately and are waiting for an immediate response.
- Today: Everything that requires a response today or immediately.
- This Week: Everything that requires a response before the end of the week.
- This Month/Quarter: – Everything that needs a longer-term response. Depending on the amount of emails you receive, you’ll need to decide if a monthly or quarterly folder is best for you.
- FYI: Many emails we receive are informational. If you want to save an email for future reference, save it to this folder.
Occasionally, you’ll need to review these folders to ensure that nothing has gotten by you and that everything has been appropriately responded to or acted upon.
The second approach is the Type Plan. Here, you are organizing your emails according to type:
Step 1: Review your email box to look for “like types” such as:
Information or FYI
Step 2: Create Folders for these on your email platform
Step 3: Create sub-folders for these categories, if needed. (Electric, Water, Organizing, Recipes, etc.)
Step 4: Start filing emails into their appropriate folder.
You may be wondering if you should file or delete an email. If you haven’t touched the email in more than 30 days, and it isn’t something you need to keep a record of (such as proof of payment or a contract), delete it. This shows that the email is not important and there’s no reason to keep it. Exceptions to this are FYI items or emails that you may want to refer to at a later date for information.
If you are using this system, remember to move an email from Bills to Paid Bills once you have actually paid that bill. (For my easy annual and monthly bill paying process including free printables, check out this post)
Automating the Folder Process for Emails
To automate the file folder process, you can set up rules for your inbox. With this process, emails that meet certain criteria will automatically go into the appropriate folder instead of your general inbox. Here are the steps to set up this automation for the most popular email providers:
Reduce the Amount of Emails You Recieve
Finally, you can reduce the amount of emails you receive by unsubscribing to the many lists you may be on. You can do this individually (as you receive an email from a company that you no longer want to receive emails from) go to the bottom of the email and look for the “unsubscribe” button. Click on it. Sometimes you will need to answer a few questions (why you are unsubscribing, etc.) but usually you will just be removed from the list.
You can also do this in bulk by using a free service such as Unroll.me
Either of these methods work and will help you corral the the clutter in your inbox!
How are you taming your emails? Do you have a tip to share? Post below and we just may include it in a future blog or social media post!
Until Next Time,