Just because something doesn’t take up any physical space, doesn’t mean it can’t clutter up your life or affect your productivity and time management. You know what I’m talking about… emails! Some are fun, some are discounts, and some are really important messages we don’t want to miss. For many of us, though, emails are also a source of stress. If you’re feeling drowned in a sea of unread and uncategorized emails, these simple tricks to organize your inbox and say goodbye to email clutter can kick start the process to a more organized digital life.
Set up your inbox in a way that makes sense to you
Many email servers these days have options for how you can view your inbox. Gmail, for example, has viewing options that allow you to bump up unread emails to the top, or sort by priority status. If you have emails you never want to miss, look into your settings and find out how to bump up your VIP senders to ensure you never miss a message from them again.
Folders in your inbox can also be very helpful in keeping things organized, but be sure to create folders that make sense to you and are easy to maintain. Folders can be your friend, but creating too many or not having a clear purpose for them can lead to an even more chaotic inbox than you started with.
Minimize email volume
Every time we buy something online or log into a website, it seems like we get added to yet another daily email list. Searching through all the junk mail and solicitations can not only be time consuming but can increase the likelihood of missing an important email. Unsubscribe from as many mass mailing emails as possible.
If you don’t want to unsubscribe from these emails because you like the information or get really great coupons, consider setting up a separate email address that you use for this type of service. Reserve your primary email for messages with content specific to you.
Use smart subject lines and smarter searches
You email server can be your best friend when it comes to information retrieval. Inboxes these days generally have a large space capacity and can hold emails for many years. But this only helps if you have a way to find what you’re looking for. When sending emails, avoid blank subject lines and instead try to use wording that you are likely to use when searching for that information. Rather than “Pix from this weekend” use “Great Falls Family Reunion Picnic Pictures June 2014”.
Once you get the hang of good subject lines, spend some time learning how to search your inbox. Many email servers allow users to search by date, subject keywords, recipient/sender, if something has an attachment, and many more options.