How to Organize your Inbox

Overflowing inboxes can be a continual struggle for creative business owners. Reaching the esteemed “inbox zero” can seem like an impossible and paralyzing task. It may even seem like something that’s unnecessary to some. However, if you don’t have systems set up within your inbox, you could be wasting an additional 5-10 hours each week re-reading the same emails or getting distracted by your other tasks to go back to your inbox. Here are systems and tips for how you can save yourself time (and $$$$) by keeping an organized inbox. Let’s get started!

How to Organize your Inbox |

So how do you keep your inbox organized?

  • Decide on what folders/labels you want to use to organize

    • Color code your folders! It looks nice and it will help you organize. (Show how to do this and create folders in gmail in resources library)

    • Different organization strategies:

      • 3 Folders: Follow-Up, Archive, Reference

      • 5 Folders: based around urgency/timeliness of response instead of subject i.e Today, This week, This month, Archive (items that are completed, but you want to keep around for reference), Inbox is for immediate things

      • Folders based around the different aspects of your business (i.e. finances, certain clients, marketing, etc.)

  • Create templates for your most frequently asked questions that you can simply copy and paste

  • Utilize Gmail rules to organize it for yourself

  • Use apps like UnrollMe (these help you keep track of those unruly subscriptions that you get 10 emails a day from)

  • Set up designated times to check your inbox. This doesn’t mean you have to jump into only checking emails twice a week. You can start with a bigger number like 10 designated times to check in a day and then work your way down to 3 or 4. The less is ideal because of productivity/saving time, but figure out what works best for you!

  • Start implementing the 2 minute rule. This means if an email contains a task or a response that can be done in under 2 minutes, do it now, otherwise set it aside for your scheduled inbox management time.

  • Don’t check your email when you can’t respond (i.e. when your friend is in the bathroom on a coffee date, when you’re in the car, in line at the grocery store, etc.) you’ll just have to read it all over again later.

  • Turn OFF notifications (if you can). This can be such a struggle! But it takes so much extra time when you’re constantly being distracted from whatever task you’re working on by the notifications popping up on your phone.

  • Set up auto responses

  • Set office hours so people know when and when not to expect responses (helps keep everyone on the same page)

What are your favorite tips to keep your inbox in tip top shape?

Lori BehleComment