Organize Your Email Inbox and be More Productive

6 Ways to get your email clutter under control

We’ve all been there, you go into your email inbox and it’s over flowing with 100s if not 1000s of emails both read and unread. It can be a daunting task to try and organize your email inbox and get a disorganized, overflowing email mess under control. Spam and junk email quickly adds up to a constant stream of distracting correspondence. This clutter can make you less productive, especially if email is a major part of your job. Not only that – important messages can end up getting lost among all of the others. Here are a few suggestions for clearing out your inbox and for keeping all of your important email organized.

Organize Your Email Inbox

Unsubscribe from Junk Mail

How much time do you spend deleting a junk message in your inbox, it all adds up. It might seem easier to do this than unsubscribe from recurring correspondence. But, does this save you time in the long run? It may take a minute or two, but look into removing yourself from the mailing lists of sites that frequently send unwanted messages. This will keep junk messages from showing up in your inbox to begin with and save you the trouble of getting rid of them. Software such as unroll.me will quickly help you identify all the subscriptions you are signed up to and allow you to quickly sort and unsubscribe if you wish to.

Folders and Categories

Many email services allow you to create folders within your inbox. By sorting messages into different groups or categories, you can easily organize your email inbox and find the messages you need when you need them. Don’t be afraid of making too many folders. If you use email for work, several folders based on subject will be more helpful than a single work folder. Some mail services can automatically sort messages into different folders based on things like who they are from.

Tags and Labels

While folders are an effective tool for keeping your incoming messages organized, they are less helpful in the case of messages that fit into several categories. By applying tags to messages, you can mark them so that they can be sorted later. Multiple tags can be applied to a single message, which allows them to be sorted differently depending on the situation.

Setting up Filters

Some email services allow you to set up filters which tell your mail service to treat certain messages a certain way. For example, if a particularly difficult junk mailer won’t remove you from their mailing list, you can set up a filter that automatically removes all mail from that sender to the trash. Filters are also useful for keeping your folders organized, by automatically sending messages containing certain words or phrases to a specific folder.

Search Your Email

Your email has a handy search engine tool that you can use to quickly find email in your inbox. The search tool allows you to easily find emails from a specific person or company, messages sent to a specific email address, or emails containing certain words. This is especially useful if you need to reference an old email that’s been lost in your inbox.

Keep Things Maintained

No matter what tools you use to organize your email inbox, it’s important to keep things organized in order to avoid another mess from forming. If you set up filters, many of your messages will be organized automatically. Make sure to update your filing system as needed and apply new filters to messages that show up in your inbox. Try to deal with incoming mail as soon as you receive it, rather than waiting for it to build up.

Taking the time to organize your email inbox will save you time, both at work and at home. Most email services offer tools like the ones described that you can use to do much of the work for you. Setting these tools up may take some time, but the time and effort an organized inbox will save you is worth it.

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Till Next Time

Mike gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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8 thoughts on “Organize Your Email Inbox and be More Productive

  1. It’s so easy to subscribe to lists, maybe getting a free report, but how often do we unsubscribe? I am so guilty of this, although havevowe3d to look at once a month, at least.

    I use Gmail’s filter system quiet a lot. An invaluable lesson that keeps my favourite senders’ emails together in folders under their name. However in the day job I do struggle with the newer version of Outlook and it’s search, as per Alana. It used to be quite good, now not so.

  2. Hi Mike another awesome post!
    One thing about me is I have OCD I organize everything. I have folders not just in my email for those emails I want to keep and read later on. But on my browser i have folders and in those folders I have more folders. That i keep track of. I think this article should be seen by everyone who has a email address as you wrote it so well and it will help everyone.

    Thank you Mike

    All The Best
    Edward Haberthur

  3. I can sometimes get over 125 emails a day at work. I’ve tried routing emails into project folders -it usually works but not always. I can wish that Outlook had a better search function – or it could be that I don’t know how to use it to its full potential. As always, Mike, good suggestions.