How to organize your inbox

Are you drowning in email and getting lost in your inbox?
Do you remember when was the last time you didn’t have a single unread new email waiting to be dealt with? I have around 85 unread emails and by main inbox folder is nearly empty. Those 85 unread emails can wait for sure and I’m not worried or stressed about getting to them. These emails have been organized in a way that doesn’t bother my work or flood my main inbox folder. I’ve created a system where I’m not overwhelmed with the amount of email I’m getting. But of course I love email and subscribing to awesome newsletters. If you don’t, we’ll need to work on that later if you would like. But today I could help you relieve that  stressful situation in your inbox.
drowningemail_inboxteatime

Here are some tips to get you started and helping you get to the surface of that sea of of email. Take a cup of tea if you would like this might take a few minutes and a cup of good tea is always a good idea.

Steps for clearing and relaxing your inbox

Folder time
You should have at least one folder that you’ve created yourself for your inbox. You’ve got two choices for naming these folders: important or not important. Important folder means that everything that goes into that folder needs to be dealt before you can get to the rest of your mail. This works best if you have one email and lot of different types of mail coming in but very limited amount of time sensitive messages. Not important folder is for all the emails that can wait. These messages and emails are not time sensitive and don’t have to be answered in the next few days or at all. Everything that doesn’t go into ‘not important’ folder needs to be dealt within a couple of days. (I know there are people who don’t check their email this often and if you are one of those people and still find yourself being stressed and overwhelmed with your email, then feel free to leave a comment on this post and maybe I can help you) Later you can go deeper into the wonderful world of folders and get a little more creative with organizing your inbox. I’ll do another post just for inbox folders.

Get clear and find your focus
What is your main focus with this email account? Is it for business, school, work or just personal? If you don’t know you better find out. Not knowing where your focus is with an email account might lead to the drowning feeling all over again. You can use that same account for multiple purposes but it should have a main focus. Meaning that all emails that are related to this subject are more important than other mail regarding something else. Let’s say that you are a student, then school related mails trump subscription from Asos or your weekly email from Pinterest (these can wait). There are exceptions let’s go with the same school example. Let’s imagine that you’ve applied to some jobs and are using that same account. In these situations you want to be on top of your school work but also you don’t want to lose that important email regarding a job opportunity. Then you really want to keep your main inbox clear from unimportant not time sensitive mail.

Prioritize
Now it is time to prioritize your emails and your email tasks and habits. With emails there are actions like read, answer, categorize and delete. If you are not on top of your habits and mindful about time spent on working on your emails, you might find yourself spending too much time and increasing your stress. What is the most important goal to with your focus subject? Maybe it’s work and you finding a new job. This might mean that you need to write and send emails. Then writing and sending emails are your top priority. Reading emails is only second and being careful about what emails you actually open and read is important. If it’s not work related and exceptionally important it can wait until you get your applications sent or whatever you need to do.

Extra tip
Reading starts before opening an email and opening an email can lead to time wasted. Most of the time the subject line and the senders information should be enough for you to know what to do with it without actually opening that email. If it’ isn’t top priority, don’t open it before you’ve done your most urgent email tasks, even if you might be curious. Just like reading, answering and categorizing and deleting messages have more to be noticed. Well talk about that later in another post. Setting different time for different email related tasks can ease your overwhelm.

Just few extra biscuits for your tea time with email
*If one account seems not enough don’t hesitate to add a second account.
*Get to know your inbox features
*Don’t be afraid to try out different email account providers they are not all the same If you liked this article and want more tips on emails and newsletters sign up for a weekly dose of inboxteatime 

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