If your email inbox is at capacity and your calendar is full of unlabeled meetings and reminders, you are not alone! According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, 27% of those polled said they feel disorganized at work, and, of those, over 90% said they would be more effective and efficient if their workspace was better organized.
If that resonates with you, try some of these organization tips for your work email to get your inbox under control and increase your productivity during the work day:
- Labeled folders
- Delete emails you don’t need
- Time to clean up
- Purge what you no longer need
- Know when to use a different method of communication
Keep reading to learn how to implement these organization tips for work email into your daily routine!
Creating labeled and/or color-coded folders will make finding important emails much more manageable. Even if you are not ready to respond at that moment, you can flag the email and move it to the relevant folder until you’re able to respond. You can even set an alert to remind you to respond to the email by a specific time or day.
Delete emails you don’t need
Don’t be afraid to delete emails you no longer need. Most email programs will store deleted emails until you do a “hard” (a.k.a. permanent) delete. Moving these emails to the trash can or even to a separate folder will clear the clutter from your primary inbox.
Time to clean up
Set aside a few minutes at the end of the workday to take a last look at your inbox, delete or categorize any remaining emails, and make a note of emails that need to be responded to in a timely manner. This small task will set you up for success the next day.
Purge what you no longer need
Chances are you receive a number of newsletters, bulletins, or other mass emails that you rarely read. Go through these emails and unsubscribe to the ones that are no longer of interest or, if you’re hesitant to unsubscribe entirely, set up a folder where these emails are sent automatically. This way, these messages aren’t clogging up your inbox, and you can read them when you have the time.
Know when to use a different method of communication
Picture it: You find 15 minutes to sit down and craft a lengthy, complex email to a colleague or client. Ask yourself, “Is an email the absolute best way for me to communicate this information? Could it be a 5-minute phone call or Zoom meeting? Or even a quick exchange on instant messenger?” Sometimes you may need to put everything in writing, but it may not always be necessary or the best use of your time. It’s worthwhile to think before you begin crafting a time-consuming (and inbox-cluttering) email.
It can be challenging to implement new organizational techniques, but it will be more than worth the time, energy, and effort you’ll save in the long term.
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