I have to say I’m a paper pack rat. When in doubt of something I may need in the future, I keep it. This includes email, and I am in need of email Zen! This last week I made an effort to get rid of old emails but needed to set up some new methods in organizing them. I want to share with you on how to organize your email better with the two phases I came up with below.
How to Organize Your Email
The De-Clutter Phase:
De-cluttering your inbox simply means deleting, responding and/or filing all of the emails in your inbox. For me, this meant going back and deleting thousands of old emails. Yes, I deleted thousands.
Unsubscribe to email/newsletters you no longer want to read. Talk about JUNK mail. It takes me only a few seconds to figure out what it is, and I simply delete it. There’s no need to waste valuable time on things you don’t invest in.
Create a ‘To Do’ folder. You will read below how to use your new To Do folder. Folders can help clear your day to day cluttering and keep you productive. But, be careful….having too many will only lead to more heap in your inbox.
Keep and file away only those emails you will need to refer back to again: This is important with clients and communications, as well as receipts. Creating 2 folders in this area can keep you up to speed.
The Organize Phase:
Stop checking your email every hour, even every day. I am guilty of being in the car as a passenger or even standing in line at the coffee house while checking email with no intention of replying right then. STOP THIS! You’re most likely going to forget to respond, and may easily check it off into the trash once it’s read.
Set a goal in getting down to 15 emails left in your inbox every day. Unless you are constantly checking your email, 15 emails left to check isn’t so bad from 100. And, zero will not always be possible.
Reply right away and delete if it’s an email that takes less than 5 minutes to reply. Usually, 5 sentences or less is doable. On average, I get about 200 emails a day between my two businesses, and quick responses are key to getting me through the day.
B lengthy emails that require substantial effort. This refers back to creating ‘To Do’ folders, which can help organize in the order you’d like to respond. You can even create folders by client or company names that allows you to sort through with ease. I probably get about 20 of these emails a day, which adds up to 90 minutes in my workday.
I hope these tips can help you to reach email Zen as it has for me.