Most people agree that having a full email inbox is stressful. Everyone processes information in different ways, but organizing your inbox can help you stay on task throughout the day and make your more productive.

Delete any email that is either useless, you have already replied to, or you do not need to take any action on. Shockingly easy, yet I always find some of these emails and always wonder how they got there. Rule your inbox with a tight fist and delete Borders coupons and Expedia travel deals when you know you will never use them.

Sort your emails into folders. I use three different labels, “waiting on”, “review/later,” and “do now.” Theoretically, you can use your actual inbox as “do now.” If you want to keep your inbox empty, move immediate tasks into “do now.” Use “waiting on” for emails that require some information you do not yet have. “Review/later” is for emails that are not time sensitive, but need attention when you have time.

Email is convenient, but it can be a pain. Get organized and make it work for you.

(photo: Somewhat Frank)

One Comment

  1. Bar Advisor says:

    I agree with the clean inbox = less stress theory. I create files for each client matter that I am working on. Once I read the email, if there is nothing I need to do, it goes into the file folder. If I need to do something, it stays in the inbox until it gets done. It is like having a to do list without having to write anything down. It is great.

    If you are overwhelmed with email right now, I’d recommend going through your most recent week’s email, file it in matter folders, and then put everything else into a MISC folder. That way, you don’t have the fear of having deleted it, but your inbox is instantly de-cluttered.

    You won’t regret it.

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