Simple Yet Genius Ways to

Organise Your Email Inbox

Reading Time: 3 minutes
The average person spends 28% of their working day managing the emails that ping into their inbox. If you’re working or running a business, that’s time you could put to better use.

While you can’t stop the flow of spam or customer questions, there are some things you can do to organise your inbox and make managing messages much more efficient.

Whether it’s Outlook or Gmail, here are seven ways to handle your inbox like a boss.

  1. Follow the two-minute rule

Nope, this doesn’t have anything to do with eating food you drop on the floor!

The two-minute rule is if you receive an email you can action within two minutes, do it there and then. Once you’ve sorted it, you can archive or delete it and get on with your day. 

  1. Get rid of the things you don’t need

You probably have emails that are so old; they’d have cobwebs on them in the real world.

Having a clear-out can make finding the information you need easier.

Of course, this step does come with a caveat. Your business may have an email retention policy, meaning you need to keep certain emails for a set amount of time. If you run a business, you may need to keep some correspondence for legal reasons.

That event invite from 2004 and those ‘sorry to see you go’ messages from mailing lists are fine to get rid of, but if in doubt, keep hold of it and digitally file it away.

  1. Unsubscribe from the emails you don’t look at

We all sign up to receive things we don’t necessarily want, like giving our email address away to read a whitepaper or subscribing to a newsletter when buying something online.

If you receive messages from a company or person that doesn’t add value to your working day, don’t be afraid to hit that unsubscribe button.

  1. Use communication tools instead

It’s happened to us all at one point – someone tries to organise a works night out, and suddenly, you’re trapped in a 50-person chain email!

If you and the people you work with use email to chat through the day, why not move to a communication tool like Slack, Microsoft Teams or Google Chat? That way, you can talk to your heart’s content without your inbox bracing for impact.

  1. Set up folders

Think of where you store all your essential documents in your home. You probably have a file for your insurance letters, one for correspondence from your kids’ school and another for your receipts. You can apply the same logic to your email inbox too.

Set up a range of folders and pop any emails you need to return to later or keep for future access.

The way you set up your folders? Entirely up to you. You can organise by customers, department or even by whether you need to act or are waiting for someone to respond.

  1. Filter your messages

If you want to prioritise the emails that come into your inbox, using filters and rules can be a great help.

Email service providers offer a wide range of filters. If a message comes from a specific email address or mentions a particular word, you can trigger an action, leaving your inbox to do all the hard work for you.

Let’s say you get a lot of industry newsletters. You can set a rule where they’re automatically sent to a folder, meaning they don’t appear in your primary inbox. Then you can read them when you have some downtime. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to step away from the inbox

It takes the average person 23 minutes to get back on track after being interrupted. If your phone is constantly beeping that you’ve got a new message, that’s a lot of time!

It’s okay to have email-free parts of your day. Close your inbox, mute notifications on your phone and spend the time focusing on the rest of your work.

Your emails will still be there when you come back. 

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