If opening your inbox creates feelings of overwhelm or dread, it’s time to declutter. Managing your inbox is a must if you want to make the best use of your time. Messy inboxes waste hours of your time and result in poor communication with other people, which can leave a bad impression of you. It may seem a daunting task to get your inbox under control, but once you develop a system and implement some best practices, keeping your inbox organized will reduce stress levels and save you valuable time.
Here are three tips to declutter your inbox:
Set Up Priority Inbox
If you regularly use email to communicate for work, you’ve probably encountered the overwhelming feeling of opening your inbox to find it bursting with new emails demanding your attention -- especially if you’re coming back from a day off. Gmail has a feature called Priority Inbox that will filter your incoming emails based on what it considers important and unimportant. It uses the sender’s email and the subject line as the criteria for its decision. If your inbox traffic is heavy, this is a great tool to help you prioritize emails that are truly important, so you can respond to them first.
A great companion tool to use alongside Priority Inbox is the filter tool. The filter tool allows you to place a label on a specific type of email, so Gmail takes the action of your designation when that specific sender emails you. For instance, an email from a sender that you want to read and respond to but isn’t urgent can be sent straight to a designated folder of your choice. You can also label emails to be deleted before they even appear in your inbox, such as the pesky spam you can’t seem to successfully unsubscribe from.
Instead of wasting your time deleting emails from lists you’re no longer interested in, take the time to open the email, scroll to the bottom (usually where you can find the unsubscribe link) and unsubscribe. Your incoming email traffic will decrease and you won’t have to deal with the annoyance of constantly deleting emails you’re no longer interested in receiving.