We use it every day to communicate, plan our days and our projects, and transfer files and information. And with the necessity of keeping a paper trail, it’s no wonder our inboxes are overloaded by the thousands. The good news is that with careful organization and consistency, it is possible to reach “inbox zero.” Follow these seven simple steps and experience the many benefits of email bliss.
Don’t be afraid to delete.
If it’s not important, delete it. The hoarding of emails is out of control, and the only way to tame it is to be honest with ourselves about which emails we need and which ones we don’t.
When it comes to emailing, labels (or filters) are your best friend. Create labels for the categories you deal with most—like expenses, project name, internal, billing, etc. By labeling each email, you’re storing it away and making it easy to find when the time comes to pull it out again.
Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe.
Marketing emails are unavoidable. Companies get our information and we magically end up on an email list—but luckily they’re easy to stop. Simply find the unsubscribe link on the bottom of the email (buried in the small print) and go through the steps. If there are marketing emails you’d prefer to continue receiving, just create a label for these emails to keep them organized in one place.
Create folders for popular actions.
Just like we create labels to store emails away, we create folders for the emails that require action. These folder names could be follow up, projects and archive. Whatever you choose, name them so you know exactly what will be needed with those particular messages—getting them out of your inbox and onto a makeshift to-do list.
If your email provider is capable, create automations for certain tasks. This could include automatically sending CCed emails to a certain folder or labeling emails containing certain keywords. This function keeps you organized while doing less of the work.
Organize with an app.
Want a virtual assistant to organize your emails for you (even from multiple accounts)? There’s an app for that. Popular applications like Boxer and Organizer help you label and organize your inbox with efficiency.
Four words: No need to reply. This phrase will keep your inbox happy and uncrowded.