If you are like most people, your email inbox is always overflowing. Sorting through your email can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. But you can remedy this by following these ten strategies on how to organize your email.
1. Spam filters
Every email program has spam filters. It is up to you to make them work for you. Check your email settings and play around with the spam filters until you get it set to the level of privacy you desire. Less spam will mean fewer emails you have to wade through.
Unsubscribe to those newsletters that you no longer need. Get rid of the ones that just don’t provide useful information. There should be an unsubscribe button or link at the bottom of the email or newsletter.
You organize your paper files at home so why not organize your email? You can create files for your emails such as work mail, personal mail, receipts, etc. Place the appropriate emails in the appropriate files. A lot of email programs will even allow you to label emails from specific addresses according to their purpose. For example, emails coming from your work address will be labeled as work in your inbox. You can even color code your emails for higher efficiency.
4. Dedicated Email Time
Set aside a specific time each day in which you will check your email. It could be the first thing in the morning, or it may be the last thing you do in the evening. If you want to remain productive you have got to stop checking your email periodically throughout the day.
5. Short Responses
When you answer your emails, keep your replies short and to the point. This saves time for you and the person receiving your emails.
6. Spring Cleaning
Once a month or even once a week, set aside time for a little email spring cleaning. Go through all your saved emails and purge what you don’t need. You want to try to get your email inbox down to 0. This may not be possible every day, but you can significantly reduce the number of items in your inbox and your outbox.
7. Establish Alternate Email Addresses
To cut down on the email clutter, it is a good idea to set up several email addresses. You can use one for emails between family members, another for personal emails between friends and yet another address for business-related emails.
8. Learn More About Your System
Did you know that most individuals use less than 20% of the programs found on their system? Take some time to learn more about your system and what it can do. You may be missing out on some program features that could save you a lot of time.
9. Determine Your Next Action
Every time you open an email, make a decision on what your next action will be. Are you going to file it, answer it, or delete it? Make a decision and commit to it. This will reduce the amount of emails found in your email folder.
10. Don’t Forget Sent Mail
It is true email can really clog up your inbox, but you should not neglect your sent mail. Organize your sent messages in folders for each client or job. This makes it easy for you to find the email again if you should need it for reference.