I’m like most people in that my inbox is a constant stream of busy. I receive emails from family, friends, organizations, bloggers, and companies with whom I truly want to stay in touch. That said, every relationship needs boundaries. I just don’t have the time to devote to checking my email every 10… OK 5… OK, OK 2 minutes to see what’s arrived. And when I do have time, I need to make sure I’m being as efficient as possible to stay ahead of the influx, while keeping a peaceful inbox for my next visit. Thus, I’ve decided to create some rules for my inbox – pun intended. Boom!
Rule #1: And I’ve said this one before… create folders. Folders are your friends. They keep like things together and make finding a particular email easier than rummaging through everything your inbox. Yes, I know you can search your inbox, but why waste time when you can just go directly to the folder the email is stored in? This rule is one of the best because you can keep what you want nice and neat and still end up with a clear inbox. What’s not to love?
Rule #2: Create rules for said folders. For example, if you get emails from The Gap and set up a “Gap” folder, then go ahead and create a “Gap” rule. So, once emails from The Gap arrive, they automatically go to their designated folder, avoiding your inbox all together. Rules save you time because they do the work of filing for you. Automation rocks my socks in Reeboks! (I just made that up and I LIKE!)
Rule #3: Oh yeah, by the way… stop signing up for subscriptions, newsletters, coupons, etc. at every site you visit. I’m guilty of this too, so don’t feel too bad. The more of a party you create in your inbox, the more time you’ll need to sift through their emails. If you’re like me you’ll eventually just leave them in your inbox to deal with another day. And unfortunately, even folders and rules can’t save you from this one. So, let’s do ourselves a favor and stop the madness. Only play with people you like and let go of the rest.
Rule #4: Relax, relate, delete! The delete button is one of the most powerful choices on the keyboard; it is freedom in the form of a small, plastic button. Use it often. Use it wisely. But most of all, use it.
The rules are not all inclusive and should be added to as you see fit. They are just a start, a jumping off point if you will; to begin to control and maintain the insanity that is your inbox. Try them out and let me know if they work for you!
What are some tips for having an organized inbox? Share in the comment below!