Getting and Keeping A Clean Inbox

It’s Monday morning and your email in box 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 you inbox clean.

  1. 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!
  2. Keep your sent files organised
    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!
  3. Delete the tat
    Someone brought cake in for their birthday? Whoopy-flipping-do, bin it!
  4. 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
  5. Archive Often
    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.
  6. 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.
  7. Turn off the “Dings”
    Having an alert come up every time an email hits your inbox is a real distraction and will make you loose focus from what you’re currently working on. Turn off the alerts and only check your email every hour or so.
  8. 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)
  9. Remember what your inbox is for
    Your inbox is only a temporary storage space, it’s not meant to keep every email you’ve ever received. Refer to point one and file, file, file!
  10. Have a weekly purge
    We’re all busy so sometimes our inbox will fill up from time-to-time. Sometime’s 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.
  11. 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.
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About Basic Organization

Basic Organization provides professional organizing services to busy families, business owners, down sizing seniors and the chronically disorganized. We can teach you the skills to get organized and live a more simplified life. By providing you with ideas, information, structure and solutions to help you regain control of your space, we can cure the chaos in you life!
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3 Responses to Getting and Keeping A Clean Inbox

  1. Juli Monroe says:

    Good post. I make a point every day of getting my Inbox down to 0, usually by 5:00. Okay, it only lasts a couple of minutes, but it means that I don’t have too much to wade through the next morning.

    Note that I said I get it to 0 by 5:00, which means that it certainly isn’t there throughout the day. Right now, it’s at 9, which is pretty manageable at 9:30 on a Monday morning. 🙂

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