Do you dread opening your inbox each day? Is it out of control and you just don’t know how to get a handle on it? Well, you are not alone. Email is one of the primary forms of communication in today’s business world. And as such, we tend to send and receive a lot of them.
Utilize the tips below to get (and keep) your inbox under control.
1. Delivery system ~ Email, particularly your inbox, is a communication delivery system. It is not meant to be a filing system. Think of it in terms of a mailbox. You get all the mail out, sort it and put it in its appropriate place. You never leave it in the box to sort through later, right? The same concept should apply to your inbox. You check your email, sort it and put it in its appropriate place.
2. Archive versus delete ~ Archive is your friend. Archiving removes the email from your inbox, but keeps it available for you to retrieve later should you need to. The search feature makes it easy to find what you are looking for in the sea of archived mail. If you delete the email and the need arises at a later date to reference it, you won’t have that option.
Bonus Tip ~ If your inbox has thousands of emails from months (maybe even years) ago, archive it all. Keep (and sort through) the past month or two, and archive anything beyond that. This is your chance to start fresh. If anything comes up that requires you to access the past emails you have them archived and can easily retrieve them.
3. Multiple inboxes ~ Did you know in Gmail you can have multiple “inboxes” and create your own star system for flagging emails? You use the varying icons and name them for what suits your business needs. To set this up navigate to settings, see all settings, then click the inbox tab. Select multiple inboxes from the inbox type dropdown and customize your inbox sections. Once set up, the multiple inboxes show to the right (bottom and left are options too) of your inbox. Each morning you could do a quick rundown of your inbox, flagging each email appropriately for what needs to happen with it. Then update and move as needed throughout the day as the work gets done.
4. Labels ~ I’m sure you have people or businesses you communicate with often throughout the day, including your clients or vendors. One method for inbox organization is using the labels feature. Create labels for each person or business that keeps your inbox hopping each day. Once you are finished with those messages, move them over to their label folder. You have them out of your inbox, but still close by for reference if needed.
5. Business and personal ~ Keep your business email separate from your personal email. When you are hard at work, with your email open in a tab to keep an eye on, do you really want the latest sale from a retail store snatching your attention away from your work? This will prevent unnecessary, non-business related emails from clogging up your business inbox.
Bonus Tip ~ If you haven’t already, create a business email account with yourname@yourbusinessname versus yourbusinessname@gmail or something similar. It’s relatively easy to do and adds a nice professional look and feel to your and your business.