How to Take Control of Your Email Inbox


It can be overwhelming trying to keep your email inbox organized, especially if you are receiving dozens (or even hundreds!) of messages per day from various sources ranging in importance. To ensure you are able to efficiently store and respond to high priority messages, it is crucial to have a system in place. Take control of your email inbox with these tips:

Create Categorized Folders

Keep your inbox tidy and save yourself significant time when you need to track down specific emails in the future by putting in the time upfront to create categorized folders. Be specific and develop a categorization method that fits your work needs – for example, you could have folders for “Pending – Waiting to Hear Back”, “Articles to Read”, or based on a client or project. As you go through emails, you can quickly move them to their appropriate areas and not have to waste time in the future manually scrolling to find a particular message.

Take Advantage of Filters

One of the keys to productivity is delegating tasks whenever possible. Apply this practice to your inbox by embracing automation and taking advantage of your email client’s filters and creating rules. For example, you could set up a rule that emails containing the word “invoice” automatically get routed to an “Invoice” folder.

Schedule Email Checking Blocks

Many people have a reactive approach to checking email, which is understandable when notifications are constantly popping up. However, this can disrupt productivity by constantly interrupting workflow and lead to haphazardly reviewing emails. Instead, schedule email checking blocks, in which you read, respond, and organize your emails in batches. This allows you to focus and be more efficient and intentional since you are giving the task your full attention.

Adhere to a Decision-Making System

Streamline your email organization by adhering to a decision-making system so you can quickly act on messages and find what you need to do your work. There are typically four necessary actions for any particular email message – it either needs to be immediately responded to, forwarded to someone else, saved for future needs, or deleted. As you check your email, make a decision on which category each message falls into and then act accordingly. This way you can handle the email once and not let messages pile up.

Achieve Your Professional Goals

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