Keeping emails from taking over my life used to be a total struggle for me. Over the last few months I’ve really refined my email management skills and have learned a few tricks here and there that I want to share with you. First of all, I want to say that my daily goal is to just go through my emails 2-3 times a day at most. I’ll read them all, respond to anything I can do quickly and file the rest. Most days I end up in my email a lot more often than that, but I make sure to get everything organized while I’m in there so I’m not overwhelmed each time I visit my inbox.
Using Folders Efficiently
In my two work gmail accounts (design & dog rescue) I have three main folders that I use 90% of the time:
- // ACTION – NEXT: Need to be addressed next aka as soon as possible (this basically becomes a to do list)
- // ACTION – SOON: Need to be addressed soon, but aren’t super urgent
- // WAITING: I’m waiting on something for whether it’s an email response, to finish something to send in the email, etc.
I also have dozens of other folders where I file stuff that I’m done with (permanently or for now). For example, in my design email address I have a separate folder for each of my projects, accounts, online orders, etc.
*I add // to the beginning of my 3 main email folders to bump them to the top of the list so I can access them easily
There was a time where I got dozens of emails each day from different businesses, blogs, etc. Now I do my best to unsubscribe from those that I don’t need. I probably sign up for and unsubscribe from half a dozen email lists each week. I really don’t need Target or Joanns or any other store urging me to buy crap from them, seriously. Most blogs can be bookmarked or followed via a feed reader such as Bloglovin or Feedly.
For emails I can’t, or just don’t want to, unsubscribe from I use filters. Most of the emails I get from bloggers or other business owners go into a “To Read” folder and are set to ‘Skip Inbox” so they don’t distract me and I can check them out when I have a chance. There are so many ways you can filter emails and it helps kind of visualize what’s in your inbox and adds pretty little tags to them as well.
There are two ways to access filters in gmail. The first is when you’re in an email click the “More” menu and then “Filter Messages Like These”. The second is to go to “Settings” and go to the “Filters” menu and set them up there. I usually end up using the first option when I’m in an email I’d like to filter or sort in the future.
Emails can be such a source of stress and overwhelm, but even between two different jobs and even more email addresses, using these tips keeps everything organized and sane.