10, 358 emails in your inbox – we’ve all been there before. Okay, maybe 10, 358 emails is an exaggeration, but the point is, they add up quickly. After a few days of missing your emails and your inbox is jam-packed and backlogged. But having a cluttered inbox can be overwhelming and can decrease your productivity in areas where you need it the most. So here are some tips to help you declutter your inbox:
Step 1: Set aside the time to do it
If you have a lot of emails in your inbox, it’s best to set aside time to declutter all in one go. Yes, we understand that it can be difficult to make time for decluttering, but doing so will greatly increase your productivity. If you don’t commit to making the time, this is a job that can get easily pushed to the side. So schedule an hour or two in your planner (depending on how full your inbox is) to focus purely on decluttering.
Step 2: Move all emails from previous years into another folder
Have emails from 5 years ago? Chances are, these aren’t emails that are still relevant now. You might still need them for documentation purposes, but they don’t need to be in your inbox. So start your declutter by moving all old emails (more than a year old) into another folder (perhaps titled “older emails”. This will allow you to focus on clearing out newer emails, leaving the older ones for your spare time.
Step 3: Create a folder system
Once you have your most relevant emails left in your inbox, it’s time to sort them out. You can create different files to sort your emails into different categories. Of course, you don’t want to create too many folders, as this can become confusing. So try to stick to 5 folders or less. Then, sort your emails into the category in which they belong.
Ex: If you have a business, you may have folders titled, “customer complaints”, “receipts”, “meetings”, and so on and so forth.
Step 4: Unsubscribe
More often than not we find ourselves with subscriptions to 10 different websites or newsletters that we never look at. And it doesn’t take long for these subscriptions to clutter up our inbox. So it’s time to start unsubscribing. Most subscriptions can be cancelled with a click of a button and can prevent unnecessary clutter from building in the future.
Step 5: Set up Email Rules
A lot of people don’t realize that they can set up email rules, allowing their email provider to sort through their emails for them. You can, for example, set emails from certain people as a priority, and other emails as non-priority. By doing so, you can read the priority emails first thing in the morning, leaving those less important emails for your free time later in the day.
In conclusion, cleaning out your inbox probably isn’t your top priority, but it actually should be on the top of that list. Cluttered inboxes can be overwhelming and can decrease your motivation and productivity. Cleaning out your inbox can help you better organize your emails, allowing you to tend to the more important ones first. Try some of the tips above to declutter your inbox, or consider hiring a virtual assistant if you don’t have the time to do it on your own.