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Inbox Maintenance Revisited: Clear the Clutter

Overwhelmed and anxious about the thousands of unread emails sitting in your inbox? Can’t find the information you’re looking for? It’s time to declutter your inbox with our tips and tricks.

Declutter Your Inbox Overflow in Chunks

If you’ve got thousands of emails sitting in your inbox, sorting it probably seems impossible. That’s why, when it comes to inbox maintenance, we recommend decluttering in chunks rather than all at once.

There are all sorts of ways to declutter your inbox, including:

  • Setting a goal to get through one month’s worth of emails
  • Sorting all the emails from a particular sender
  • Working through your read or unread emails first.

Whatever system you choose, be sure to block time off in your schedule for email decluttering. You’ll be surprised at how much you can declutter from your inbox in just half an hour.   

Keep What You Need in Folders

As you declutter, you’ll find emails you can delete right away, but there are many others you may want or need to keep. In these cases, a file system is helpful. For some business owners, it makes sense to file emails by client or customer. For others, it makes more sense to file by project or type of task.

Once you’ve set up your folder system, it’s time to get to work. Decide if you should keep an email or if you can delete it. If you’re keeping it, decide which folder it should go into. If there’s an action item in the email, either reply back to the sender or add it to a running list of follow-up tasks. PRO TIP: Outlook allows you to convert an email to a task.

Don’t Fear DELETE

Deleting emails is a permanent step in the inbox maintenance process that can feel scary. But have you actually gone back to look at the emails you received five years ago? We suggest putting a time limit on the emails you keep. If it’s more than five years old, you likely don’t need to keep it. If an old email contains an important file, take the time to download the file to your computer, then delete the email. Most promotional emails, calendar invites, reminders, and emails from no-reply addresses can be deleted without fear.

If you can’t delete an email, you’ll need an email storage and retrieval strategy. As we mentioned above, many people use folders to sort emails they need to keep. Color coding and categorizing these emails can make finding them in these folders much easier. Create your color coding and categorization system based on your personal needs. For some people, it makes sense to categorize by sender (boss, team members, or customers) or by task (meeting, paperwork, accounting). 

Unsubscribe from Unnecessary Emails

Promotional emails or eNewsletters from trade groups and companies you work with create a lot of clutter quickly. We suggest you unsubscribe ruthlessly. If you some of these emails valuable, feel free to stay subscribed. But all others can go. Just hit unsubscribe at the bottom of the emails to opt out. By following these tips, you’re well on your way toward decluttering your inbox. If you’re frustrated with your email setup, Jurrens can help! We have cloud-based solutions that can help you scale your email storage and email users. Get in touch today to learn more.