Shake Up Your Email Inbox

compter personOk, so it’s the end of the week and I like to wrap things up so when Monday morning comes, I know exactly what I have to do. Also, if there are any responses I can get in before the week is up, I like to do those too. But like many of you I have a full inbox in my email. By the end of the week I’m tired of looking at certain messages. They are in there because I don’t want to deal with them or I’m waiting on something. Let me explain that I use my email “inbox” as sort of a TO DO bin. If it’s in there, I have to do something with it. And if it’s been there for a while, it means it’s not urgent. So I think I need to shake up my in bin – just like I would do with a stack of papers that has been sitting too long on my desk. Re-arrange it and take a fresh look and maybe something magical will happen! Here are a few ideas to help you as I help myself get that mailbox as close to 0 as I possibly can:

  1. Tri-age your inbox every day – delete what you don’t want right now or don’t have time to read right now. If you find yourself deleting the same messages daily, consider “unsubscribing” to certain email lists.
  2. If you can answer it now – DO IT! The ball is in receiver’s court once you answer.
  3. Leave messages in your inbox if you will answer them at a later time. Hence creating your virtual “TO DO” bin.
  4. Try sorting your inbox by “sender.” That way you can see all messages from one person and possibly handle all the issues with one phone call. Then delete those messages.
  5. Try sorting your inbox by date received. You can start with the oldest dates and then decide if something is more than a week old, for example, it’s over. Let it go. Delete and move on. Ok maybe a month old is more reasonable.
  6. If you sort with the latest dates on top, handle what you can first then as you go down in the list you may be able to delete some items that are no longer urgent.
  7. You can also sort your inbox by the subject. That way you can pull together all comments on a certain subject and possibly eliminate a few or keep the latest.
  8. If you’ve got some important information in your inbox that you need to save for future reference, make a file folder -just like you would do with paper. Don’t forget to peruse your file folders occasionally to see if anything is irrelevant and can be deleted. Remember the bigger the file, the less likely you are to use it. So keep files specific.
  9. If the virtual TO DO bin is not working for you, consider transcribing all these TO Do’s into your daily planner. Assign each to a reasonable day of the next week when you can handle them. Everybody remembers differently but writing and seeing these items on a daily calendar will make them more tangible than a list on a computer.
  10. Shut down your email and enjoy your weekend!

How do you clean out your email? I would love to see your comments: