How to Manage the Madness of Your Inbox

Aug 10, 2021

living, self-work

How to Manage the Madness of Your Inbox
BY TAYLOR VEST

We live in a hyper-connected world. We are being hit with information from all sides – constant emails, spam phone calls, Instagram ads.  I’m always looking for ways to limit the email inbox madness and have some tips for you.

1. Unsubscribe from the emails you delete every day.

We all have those emails that we automatically click “delete” on every day.  We are backed into signing up for emails to access a blog we visit once or get a 10% discount for a one-time purchase, but then we’re stuck getting emails from that brand indefinitely.  Take the extra two seconds and unsubscribe.  It limits the number of emails coming into your inbox and if you’re deleting it every day, the chances you’ll be interested later are slim to none.  I unsubscribed from nearly all of the brands’ email chains because not seeing promotions helps me only buy items I intentionally seek out and need and helps me stay within my budget.

2. Create folders or tabs.

In my Outlook email for work, I have created folders and in my personal Gmail account, I have created tabs.  In Outlook, I have folders for HR communications, scheduling, department information, specific patient resources – any topic where there will be multiple emails or information I access frequently or may need to access quickly.  In Gmail, I have tabs for housing, receipts, taxes, and folders for each of my extracurricular activities where I can keep relevant information together and sequential.

3. Flag emails to review later

When I briefly scan over my emails in the morning, whether work or personal emails, I flag emails that will require follow-up or have important relevant information.  My work email is inundated every morning and I delete many emails that aren’t specifically relevant to me, but I want to ensure that those directed to me or requiring to follow up are differentiated from the ones I plan to delete. Once I have flagged the important emails and delete the irrelevant ones, I return to my inbox to review the flagged emails and respond appropriately. 

4. Delete emails

For my work email, I have created an “archive” folder where I move emails that don’t have a specific folder, but I may need it at some point.  Anything that doesn’t get sorted into a folder or deleted goes to the archive.  This allows me to have a “miscellaneous” folder because not every email will have a specific folder, but some emails may need to be accessed later.

Managing the madness takes some intentionality, but once you set up some systems, it can streamline the process.

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