You get up first thing in the morning and check your email. You want to ignore the little parenthesis that says you have 6,894 emails. Time to take the bull by the horns and start to declutter that email. You will find yourself feeling very accomplished in the end.
Here are some helpful suggestions to get you started.
Taming your email clutter
You can lose a major part of your productivity by having a clutter email program. The more the merrier is not so in this case. Overwhelm will kick in very quickly, and you will just want to procrastinate on cleaning it all up.
A cluttered email program could end up costing your valuable time and potential clients. The important emails could quickly be lost by all the other “noise” you don’t need.
Dumping the Junk Mail
Many people will just delete the junk and spam email that comes in, but how often do you find yourself deleting the subscribed email that you really don’t even just scan in the morning. Take some time and begin to unsubscribe to those unwanted newsletters/emails that at one time seemed important. You will soon find that your email inbox takes on a clean, uncluttered look fairly quickly.
Folders and Categories
You most likely have a filing cabinet in your office/home office. And what do you keep in there? Files and sub-folders. Check with your email provider and see if it allows you to set this up, and believe me, you will be glad you did.
Be very selective in what you are setting up, otherwise you could find yourself with many emails located in a large number of folders, and that would just defeat the purpose.
Tags and Labels
These are different from file folders. You may find that your important emails might fall into several categories, (i.e. actionable item, follow-up, deadline, etc.) So, you will want to add tags or labels so that you are able to sort them accordingly. Also, if you don’t find the time immediately to sort them, it makes it much easier when you are ready to do so.
Multiple tags can be applied to a single message, which allows them to be sorted differently depending on the situation.
Some email services allow you to set up filters which tell your mail service to treat certain messages a certain way. For example, if a particularly difficult junk mailer won’t remove you from their mailing list, you can set up a filter that automatically removes all mail from that sender to the trash.
Filters are also useful for keeping your folders organized, by automatically sending messages containing certain words or phrases to a specific folder.
Search Tools in your email
Email programs come equipped with a search tool, which is very handy when you want to find an email regarding a particular subject; or, created by a certain person/company. This especially comes in handy when you want to find something that was sent quite some time ago. Please note – most email programs will delete the “trash” folder after 30 days.
Use your filters, use your folders, use your tags. By maintaining a clean email system, it will never be overwhelming again.
If it is an email you can deal with right away, do so. That will make it much easier to handle, and when it is complete delete it, unless you need to file it in a folder for future reference.
If you have a large amount of email, this might be an daunting task, but once you have completed it, you will truly appreciate the declutter. Put aside some time each month to review your system, to keep your productivity level up!
If you find this to be too much, contact me for a quote for email declutter and maintenance.