Remember when you got your very first email address? You were so excited to receive that first message that you couldn't wait for another. Now, you can't seem to figure out how to organize your email inbox at all. It seems our inboxes are being flooded with newsletters, work emails, and that occasional chain letter from your grandma because she still doesn't get technology just quite yet. What happened to the good ole days when spam wasn't a thing and you actually wanted to love your inbox? Now, instead, it's just an endless tornado of digital papers circling around and around.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about technology, because as you know, it certainly makes things a lot easier. But on the other hand, it does bring a good amount of stress. As a freelance writer, I receive a lot of emails throughout the day and while I love how efficient emails are, it can be a little overwhelming when the emails just won't stop. With that in mind, I actually figured out a few ways to organize my inbox a little bit better. With a few hacks and simple clicks, you can finally knock that one thing off your to do list (because you know it's been on your list for a while, don't lie).
1. Delete Unnecessary Emails
This is the easiest way to get rid of any unwanted emails to free up your inbox. Try to delete them right when the unwanted emails come in; the less chaotic mess, the better. Then, on another day where you have more time, set a few hours to solely focus on your inbox. Take the time to read each email and decide exactly how important it is to you. If it has been in your inbox for more than 30 days and you still have not touched it, then it might be time to discard it. If you are still not sure, try to create a folder to revisit later when you are able to do another purge. To eliminate chaos all together, I have a separate email where I can still receive newsletters and "spam-like" mail. These are things that I enjoy reading, but I don't want it to mix in with my work stuff.
2. Use Auto-Filters
I just recently found out about this magical feature, and it is a lifesaver. I believe only a few email providers have this feature, but if you are one of the lucky few that has Outlook or Gmail, then you are golden. With auto-filters, you are able to categorize all your incoming mail. All you need to do is go to the link where you can manage all your folders, and it will allow you to filter based on who sends you emails, any sort of keywords, and/or that includes certain attachments. You can pretty much filter anything and when emails start rolling in, they will automatically go into that folder that you have now created. Told you it was magic.
3. Use Email Apps
There are plenty of email programs out there that will help with organizing your emails. For instance, Boomerang is a great way to push unanswered emails to the top of your list and also allows you to schedule responses for any emails without you having to think about it. If you use conduct business emails mostly through your phone. Another great option is the app Boxer; it will sync up all your calendars, allow you to send emails to other apps (like Evernote), and you can share your availability directly from your inbox.
4. Try To Clean House Every Day
This one might seem like an extra step you don't want to take, but trust me, it will help in the long run. Try to take some time each day to get rid of any unwanted emails you might have received. If you purge everyday, you won't feel overwhelmed by the end of the week, when you get find that one really, really important email. (Boy, has that happened me to me more than once.) By doing this, you will give your inbox the much-needed air it will be to breathe. That's a sure fire way to win at life.
5. Filter Emails Right To The Trash
If you have the filter program in your email account, filter those unwanted emails that you are tired of deleting by directly filtering them into the trash. It's seriously the perfect way to get rid of all that junk you just don't want anymore. I try to do this with anything that will just fill up my inbox for no reason, like notifications from random apps I have or stores I don't shop at anymore. If you have the time, just go to the settings of those accounts and change that setting so you don't receive those emails anymore. But in the mean time, just do this so you don't have to waste time deleting over and over again.
6. Unsubscribe From Newsletters You Don't Read
Newsletters are always a little tricky. At the time, it sounded good to be up-to-date with the latest from your favorite website, or clothing store. But after a while, they seem to pile up, because they are sending them almost every single day. Soon, you are drowning in them and you can't get out. Take some time to unsubscribe from those newsletters that you don't even check anymore. If they aren't providing you with any sort of perk or incentive to open them, then it's time to say goodbye. But if you aren't 100 percent sure that you want to break up, create another email account and send all of them there. Now you have a sanctuary full of unwanted emails that you can check on whenever you like. You're welcome.
As we all know, inboxes can really get chaotic and can fill up fast with unwanted junk. But take some time to organize your life but tackling your emails first and once you feel good about the system you have coordinated with, then you will be able to tackle all the incoming mail (wanted or not) without feeling stress.
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