Is cluttered e-mail okay for you? If so, that’s great. I personally though feel quite overwhelmed while having a lot on my plate at least visually. I’d rather keep it clean since the beginning than having that unsorted mess of hundreds of e-mails. Even if it’s marked as “read”.
So what is it all about?
You handle the email as soon as you go through your inbox content. There are a few activities you can (should) do for each email to spend the least time possible to handle it all. After the process, you see the beautiful picture like above.
How to do that?
It might be stressful at first but you’ll be more peaceful after a while:
- Go through each mail and decide whether you need to:
- save for reference
You don’t need more options. Believe me.
The messages you’re not interested with, not necessary for your work etc. you go ahead and trash.
The second: use the “Archive” option in your mail client. You can also create folders per project in your mail client and file it to the corresponding place. I have folders for internal tasks and for client-related information. I’ve got also not a work-related folder like initiatives. Eg. the events organized in the company needs some emails and those are going to this category.
The reply is tricky – when you reply it stays in your inbox. Then you can also file or archive the message. You’ll get a reply to your inbox so don’t worry about it.
Every mail you archive stays in your mailbox. The messages are only hidden so you don’t have to take action on them more than it’s necessary.
But I don’t have archive option in my company’s mail
Easy fix for that: create folder “Archive” and move emails to this folder 🙂 Isn’t it so simple?
I have billions of emails already.
I get that, in my private emails I’m somewhere there also. But you can spend 5 minutes a day or 25 minutes a week (if you have access to your work email from home). You can also go through the oldest 10-20 emails. It’s all up to what works best for you.
Why the oldest you may ask? Because it would be easier to make a decision if you need the email or not.
You may also go by categories if you have them somehow categorized already. In my company, there is a rule that we add a tag to messages, especially those not work-related. Eg. [spam] represents all random messages that might disturb some people at their work. I’ve got a rule for them in my client to move it to a spam folder and make as “read”. I’m going there around once a week and see if there’s something interesting or to laugh a bit 🙂
- clean it up every day (or 2-3 times a day, depending on how much emails you get)
- turn off notification, check your email periodically instead.
As always, you don’t have to do this. It works for me, it might work for you but you’re your own person, maybe you find your way through many emails in your inbox.