Welcome to Day 1 of our organizing journey! I am so excited to get started with 5 easy steps to organize your EMAIL!
Related: Want to read all about what this month long journey is about? Click HERE.
I know email is tough to conquer. It is constantly coming. You delete one and two more show up. It all falls into one pool and sifting through the junk to get to those important ones can be difficult. But these 5 steps can help save you time and maybe a little sanity.
Step 1: Set Your Email to Mirror Behavior Across all Devices
Your computer, phone and tablet are all set to have email delivered. How nice of them, right? Except, if you don’t have it set correctly, you could be doubling or even tripling your work. While I can manage email once it hits my inbox, I really have zero clue how it gets there or how all that techy stuff goes. What I do know is that one person sends me an email and three devices bing, bong and whistle at me.
Because I have set my email set up as IMAP, when I flag, delete or reply to an email on one device that action is mirrored on the other devices.
I found an article that explains how or why this happens, better than I could. So if you are interested you can click here to learn about it. A simple Google search will help you figure out just how to configure your email for your particular device.
Step 2: Unsubscribe!
This is the first step because you need to unsubscribe from all the junk in your inbox before you let them add anything else to your work load.
Let’s look at email as we looked at snail mail. There are bills (boooooo,) personal correspondence (how sweet,) important notices (take note,) and lots and lots of junk (trash it!)
As much as I love to shop, I don’t need Nordstrom sending me a sale email update every day. Sorry Nordstrom, I love you, but I know where to find you if I need something. But ya know what, if you find value in sale emails, keep em comin! Just know how to handle them. We will get to that later.
Task: Go through your inbox and unsubscribe to any and all emails you do not find value in. At the end of an email there should be an “Unsubscribe” link. Click it.
Hint: Unsubscribing from your bill notices won’t stop you from actually owing the money. Head in the sand approach doesn’t really work in that instance. 🙂
Step 3: Delete, Delete, Delete!!!!
Now that you have unsubscribed to all the nonsense noise you don’t need in your inbox, it is time to delete those messages you do not need.
Here are some ideas of things to delete:
- Anything you just unsubscribed to
- Emailed receipts
- if you know you are keeping the item OR if you know the store will be able to recall your purchase for a return by just inserting your credit card DELETE
- Sale Alerts
- Emails that required action you never took
- Blog Emails you never got around to reading (even if they were from me)
- If you don’t have a Bank of America account, please don’t think about the email you just got from “Bank of America,” just delete. It’s kind of like when “Microsoft” calls me to tell me my computer is having an issue. I have a Mac, but nice try.
Task: Go through your inbox and identify any emails that do not hold information you need, then delete them.
Step 4: Folders and Flags Are Your Friend
Folders are there for a reason. Think of them just as you would a file system in your house. If there is a category you get emails about all the time and need to keep for any length of time, or have a larger project that is getting a ton of inbox space, create a folder and move those emails in. That will remove them from your normal inbox but they will be there waiting for you, out of the way, incase you need to go back to them.
Imagine this: Every time you placed an order online for Christmas, you moved the confirmation email into a “Christmas” folder. Then, two months after Christmas, when every box has been opened and gift has been used, you delete the entire folder! No need to sift through 100 emails to find all those Amazon emails.
For all the emails that are left, assign flag colors to them. If you have kept them in your main inbox, they must have some (short term) purpose. I have a certain color for business emails I am waiting on responses for, one for emails from my children’s school that have info I know I will forget and need to go back to, and a color for electronic bills.
Step 5: Set Aside Email Time
Because we are a society of people who always have their head in their phone, sometimes we mindlessly open emails and don’t take any action. This leads to “read” emails sitting stagnant and adding up as each day passes.
You don’t need to set a large amount of time. Depending on the amount of emails you get in a day, try for 10 or 20 minutes once a day. Read emails and take the appropriate action:
- Unsubscribe and Delete
- Move to a Folder
- Sometimes you may even need to Print
Clean up your email every day just as you do the paper mail from your mailbox.
PHEW, now exhale and I will see you Friday with some food shopping organization and dinner ideas to help you through, what may be, my least favorite task. Like, I would rather clean toilets.