Thursday, 2 October 2014

Getting Your Inbox to Zero and Keeping it There

I'm one of those people who just loves organizing. Emails are one of those things that constantly need attention and can get out of hand if you don't have a system in place.

Here's what I do to keep overflow at a minimum;

Unsubscribe from all of the unnecessary social media updates.
These really aren't necessary for me 98% of the time. I usually check my social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook before I check my email, so I see that someone new has followed me, replied to me etc.

Utilize the Priority Inbox (on Gmail)
One of the things that makes it extremely easy to keep on top of emails is the automatic separation that gmail does.
I subscribe to quite a few newsletters, so they go in the updates category. Important emails go straight into primary and there are other labels such as social, where your social media notifications can go (if you don't feel like turning them off)

That way, when I open up my email I can instantly see the ones that are important and reply to them first, getting around to the newsletters when I have time.

Categorize by labels; 
If you use your email for different things like a business , blog and social media it can get kind of crazy. Right now I have the labels
- Sponsorships
- Freelance Work

Color Code
Within the labels I use a color code so I know what has to be done with each email, if I can't respond immediately.

Within Freelance I use red for the projects I'm currently working on, and green for the ones I'm awaiting a response to. Once I've finished with the project I take the red star off or delete the message to keep my inbox low.

For sponsorships I also use different colored stars for things like guest posts, correspondence etc.

Deleting frequently;
There are things you keep to read again, and really never read. Each day when I have gone through my email I try to delete as many things as possible that don't need a follow up action. Usually I don't like to have more than around 25 opened emails just sitting around at a time.

If you're not sure whether you might want to delete it yet, or you're awaiting a response but want some more room in your inbox, you can archive the email and when a response comes it'll come right back to your inbox.

You can also retrieve emails from your archive if you need them for future reference without them cluttering up your inbox.

Automating Content:
If you're a freelancer, automating can help you save time. For example every time someone purchases one of your consultations, you can automatically send a autoresponder with a thank you note or a quick survey for them to do before you can begin. While it doesn't necessarily make your inbox emptier.. it does make it easier and mean that you potentially have less to reply to.

You could also have an autoresponder that lists your office hours &  FAQs or similar work, like Lisa does. 

Is your inbox out of control?

if you're on top of your emails, what do you do to stay there?


  1. I need to utilize the color-coding. x_x I feel like I'm always swimming in a world of emails, and the fact that I have a bunch of different accounts/don't like to delete things probably doesn't help. :x

  2. I need to organize my emails better! I am always overwhelmed:(

  3. Thanks! I have pinned this because there is some awesome information here! :)


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