It’s super easy to let your email inbox get out of hand. Once it does, you have hundreds (if not thousands) of unread emails with more piling on every day.

Instead of letting the emails you need to read get lost in the stream, use some of our tips on how to keep your email inbox organised.

  • Delete (almost) everything
  • Clear the spam too
  • Unsubscribe from mailing lists
  • Keep your private life, private
  • Use folders to organise your email inbox
  • Maintain your inbox little and often

How to organise your email inbox

These tips will help you clear the rubbish and create a sparkling clean and organised email inbox.

Delete (almost) everything

It’s likely that most of the emails you receive have no relation to you or your business at all, so why are you keeping them? Just delete them straight away. 

Have you read an email and won’t need it again? Delete it. 

Emails keep coming, and they never stop. If you let them, they’ll build up until it’s nearly impossible to manage. You might also find that the older an email address is, the more pointless emails you get. 

Not every email should be deleted, but don’t keep everything because you might need it in the future. Keep the ones important to your business, and chuck the rest. 

When you come across an email that you will need again, move it into a separate folder. That way, it’s out of your inbox and not taking up front-page space. 

Clear the spam too

Spam emails make up a giant portion of the email traffic that gets sent out. In fact, in July 2021 an average of 336 billion emails were sent worldwide. Out of that 336 billion, over 280 billion were spam

Inbox filters are generally pretty good at keeping the spam from ever reaching your inbox, but they’re not perfect. You might find that some spam emails get through into your inbox, or that emails you need get marked as spam by mistake. 

If your spam folder is constantly full, you might lose access to important emails that were wrongly flagged. By keeping your spam clean too, it makes it a lot easier to spot anything that shouldn’t be in there.

Unsubscribe from mailing lists

Did you ever sign up to a website, put in your email address, and now have to deal with emails every single week? These mailing lists are one of the biggest reasons why email inboxes get so full. 

You can easily stop those unwanted emails in their tracks!

You should see a small link at the bottom of each of these marketing emails that says “Unsubscribe from mailing list” or something similar. If you click that, you should stop getting sent endless emails by that company.

You will have to do this for every business you’ve signed up to, but it can help keep your inbox clear in the long term.  

Only click on links from trusted emails. If you’re getting emails from strange addresses that you don’t recognise, or the email itself doesn’t feel quite right, delete it. 

One major threat in cybersecurity is phishing emails. These emails pretend to be from genuine sources, but are instead designed to steal your information. If you don’t remember signing up to a specific email mailing list, you’d be better off marking the address as spam.

Keep your private life, private

It can be tempting to give out your work email address to personal connections. You might want to think twice, though, because that will only bulk up the number of unwanted emails you get. 

By including your work email address on your social media pages, you’re opening yourself up to extra traffic. If you’re trying the limit the number of emails coming into your inbox, then it might be better to leave your email address on your website. 

This also goes the other way. If you don’t have separate personal and professional email addresses, then your inbox is likely to be difficult to work through. 

Use folders to organise your email inbox

You might need to keep emails to refer back to, but keeping them in your inbox leaves everything looking cluttered. This is where folders come in. 

Once an email comes through, you can file it to a specific folder for safekeeping. That way, you’ll know exactly where it is when you need to refer back to it.

Here are some folder categories you may want to include:

  • Documents
  • Financials
  • Client enquiries
  • Newsletters
  • Follow-up

These are just suggestions, and you can have as many or as few folders as you like. As long as your emails are neat, your inbox will be easy to read.

Some email providers (like Gmail) allow you to colour-code your folders too. By matching a different colour to each folder, you make them easier to find at a glance.

How to keep your inbox (and business) organised

So you’ve got your inbox looking spick and span. How do you keep it that way? By tidying it a little, but often. Letting it build up can mean doing a full deep-clean, which can take hours. 

Instead, think of it as daily hygiene for your business. Just like you brush your teeth at the start and end of every day, you should sort your email inbox at the beginning and end of your workday

By sorting it out twice a day, you only need to spend a couple of minutes cleaning it up. Much more efficient than spending hours on it every 6-12 months. 

If you’re still in the mood for some Spring Cleaning, we also urge you to check out our other articles: 

While you’re at it, why not organise your financial management as well? An accounting tool like Countingup automates bookkeeping tasks to promote efficiency and speed. You can save hours of accounting hours as a result!
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