Getting and Keeping A Clean Email Inbox
It’s Monday morning and your email inbox is probably filling up as you read this. Don’t you wish you had cleaned up that e-box on Friday before you began your weekend? Well, there’s no time like the present to get started.
Could you use some help? Here are some tips from Flipping Heck to help you keep your inbox clean.
Learn to file
Create a separate folder for each customer/supplier/subject that you deal with. It’s quicker to find an email if you’re looking in one place!
Keep your sent files organized
At some point, you’ll need to prove that you really did send Jeff in marketing that email. File them in a “Sent” folder under the appropriate main Customer and watch Jeff squirm!
Delete the tat
Did someone bring a cake in for their birthday? Whoopy-flipping-do, bin it! It’s email clutter.
Don’t use emails for reminders
I know some people advocate sending yourself an email as a reminder but it’s better of in your Next-Actions/Project list otherwise it’ll haunt you and you’ll feel rubbish about not doing anything about it
If a project isn’t active then file it away somewhere. There’s no point cluttering up your inbox with stuff you’re not working on, especially as it may draw attention away from something you’re actually supposed to be working on. I’ve got a folder called “Archive” which I move all of my inactive projects into. I can quickly drag them out when something needs working on and still search them for any reference material I may need.
Remember the 2-minute rule
If it can be replied to or actioned within 2 minutes then just do it and bin it. It’s amazing how many emails can be sorted in such a short amount of time.
Turn off the “Dings”
Having an alert come up every time a message hits your email inbox is a real distraction and will make you lose focus on what you’re currently working on. Turn off the alerts and only check your email every hour or so.
Learn when to reply
I know it’s polite, but having an inbox full of emails that just say “Thanks” is annoying. Sometimes you don’t have to send a reply and if you stop doing it so will others (probably because they’ll think you’re a miserable git)
Remember what your inbox is for
Your inbox is only temporary storage space, it’s not meant to keep every email you’ve ever received. Refer to point one and file, file, file!
Have a weekly purge
We’re all busy so sometimes our inbox will fill up from time-to-time. Sometimes it’s because you’ve been out of the office, others because you’ve been stuck in meetings. Don’t feel too bad about it, just set aside some time once a week to go through your inbox and file/delete/action as appropriate.
Learn to use labels and flags
Most email programs allow you to label or flag emails for various purposes (such as “Action”, “Waiting for” etc.). Flag an email so you can easily find it later and move it out of your inbox.