Is your inbox overflowing and overwhelming? Do you need 7 easy to follow steps to keeping your inbox in order?
Email is one of those areas in business that is essential but can quickly become out of control and hard to manage. I’ve met people with thousands of emails in their inbox, so many in fact that they just give up on organising it as it seems too vast a task to tackle.
How many different types of emails do you receive in a week? There’s the personal ones, stuff relating to your kids, sales email from retailers you once bought something from, the weekly emails from entrepreneurs and coaches you follow, invoices, new enquiries. The list is endless really and often the most important emails get lost among the rubbish. How do you go with finding things again once they are buried deep in your inbox?
The good news is there is a way to get your inbox organised and keep it that way. Read this blog post; the 7 steps to keep your inbox in order and see how easily you can keep your inbox from getting overwhelmed.
I am a Gmail user so this article uses the language of Gmail however all providers have similar services that you can apply to your own inbox.
Firstly, let’s talk about ways your email provider helps you to keep things organised.
Creating rules for certain emails is a great way to file messages away and not have them clogging up the inbox. Put some thought into the regular emails you receive such as invoices, enquiries from your website or emails from clients. You can apply a rule to these emails so they automatically go into a folder.
There are several ways to do this but perhaps the easiest is to search for an email address in the search bar at the top. Then use the drop down arrow and your filter form will appear. I usually just fill in the part ‘Has the words’ then hit create filter to choose the rules that apply to that particular address.
Use these like folders. I have a separate folder for all clients as well as for things like business receipts, website info as well as all my providers such as Sendowl, Rev, Siteground etc. Rules can be set for messages to go straight to those labels however i prefer to leave these to come to my inbox so i know i’ve seen them and then i manually transfer them to the correct folder once the email has been dealt with.
This is another way to filter messages out of your primary inbox. In Gmail, go to settings and click on Inbox from the tabs across the top. Here you can set up the categories you want. I have the categories Primary, Social and Forums.
Primary – my main inbox
Social – all messages from Asana, Facebook, Instagram go here
Forum – all messages from entrepreneurs and coaches that I follow go here.
4. Canned Response
This is a massive time saver by allowing you to save emails that you send regularly as a template. It’s a productivity whizz’s stuff of dreams!! Go to Settings and click the Advanced tab. Click enable next to Templates. Then when you compose a new email that you’d like to turn into a template, hit the three dots in the bottom right and choose Templates, save draft as template and give it a good descriptive name that you will recognise in the future.
Now let’s move on to forming good habits that will ensure your inbox remains organised.
5. Beginning and End of the Day
It takes just 5 minutes at the beginning and at the end of the day to check and store your emails. During this time delete unwanted emails, store emails that have been dealt with in the correct label and create new filters if necessary.
6. Unsubscribe & Delete
Once a week go through your messages in all the categories and unsubscribe to emails that you no longer want to receive. You know the ones that you bought a random gift from once who still send you a weekly email. Or a company that you did business with 2 years ago but you’re still on their mailing list. Take some time to unsubscribe but also delete messages from senders that you want to hear from but you don;t need their emails sitting clogging up your inbox.
7. Personal Inbox
Set up a separate Gmail account for all your personal emails. The online shopping, the messages from your kids’ schools and emails from friends. You will be so much more productive if you remove all personal information from your business inbox. There will be less distractions as well as far less emails to cope with.
Just a little disclaimer. I like to keep a maximum of about 20 emails in my primary inbox at one time. These are generally things I’m still working on or haven;t got around to yet. I sometimes read an email and then mark it as unread again so that it is in bold and stands out. It’s also good to remember that you can always use the search bar at the top so don’t be afraid of filing things away and worrying that you won’t know where you’ve put them. Simply do a search!
OK, over to you. Use these 7 steps to keeping your inbox in order to go get your inbox organised! Set up a few simple rules and your inbox will no longer be overflowing. Your mind will be calmer and your business will benefit by you being more productive. Win win!