Are you curious about how to organize your email inbox? Do you know that the email is a vital component of any business or project? Knowing how to organize your email inbox can save you from wasting precious time allocated for other business activities. Due to this, we’ll tell you all you need to know about how to organize your email inbox.
As a business owner, you should take your email inbox very seriously.
This is because your email inbox serves as one of your vital sources of information that helps you run your business effectively.
However, keeping track of what is stored in your inbox can be potentially problematic.
The inbox area of your email is a rather tricky area to deal with if you allow it to become too disorganized.
Read on for tips on how to organize your email inbox
How to Organize Your Email Inbox
Before we dive into how to organize your email inbox let’s discuss why you need to organize your email inbox.
Most times we consider our email inbox as the last place that needs organizing.
Well, your email inbox needs to be organized and here are the reasons for that.
Why Organize Your Email inbox
If your current email setup is working for you, why bother changing it?
Well, you would be better off learning how to organize your email inbox for a number of reasons.
You Can Increase Productivity
By learning how to organize your inbox, you would save a lot of time trying to find an important email when you need it.
Hence, giving you more time to focus on other important tasks.
Also, this would help your business improve its communication within its different departments as well as outside clients and agents.
It Reduces Stress
This is another great reason why you should learn how to organize your email inbox.
Looking for email can be a rather frustrating task, especially if that mail was sent several years ago.
With an unorganized inbox, you would have to go through thousands of entries over multiple pages just to get the email that you want.
By learning how to organize your email inbox, you shorten the process that reduces stress considerably.
Another thing is the faster you can find that email, the quicker you can respond to it.
This prevents other problems from popping up.
Organizing your Email Inbox Help You Meet Deadlines
When emails start piling up, your ability to address them all properly diminishes.
In time, you’d forget to respond to one which can be disastrous if that email contains valuable information.
One key element in organizing your email inbox involves setting up rules and conditions wherein you will be notified of incoming mail.
This way, you can address queries properly.
This can assist in maintaining valuable client relationships, meeting project deadlines, and increasing productivity between all your teams.
Now you’re convinced as to why you should have an organized email inbox.
Let’s move on to how to organize your email inbox.
This is also called the email optimization process.
The Email Optimization Process
You can agree that the benefits above are pretty great.
The question, however, is on how you can start organizing everything.
There are several steps to organizing an email inbox that you should follow in order to get the best possible results.
Clearing Things Out From Your Email Inbox
The first thing to do for effective email management is to change the way you use your inbox, which is strictly for new mail.
Think of it this way.
If you allow every bit of letter, notice, and bill to gather in your desk without throwing them out, you would end up with an unmanageable pile of papers.
The worst part of these is that most of the documents in this pile would have been rendered irrelevant after you have read them.
Thus, there is no sense to keep them at all.
The email works roughly the same way.
It’s more valuable to you and your business if you clear out all the junk.
One of the first steps to organizing your email inbox is deleting every email you have received that you’ll never want access to again.
These include emails from several months or years ago, old memos and announcements, and spam.
Be careful, though, as there might be some old emails that you’d rather not want to delete.
For instance, some emails might contain receipts that have the information necessary for accounting and liquidation.
Organize Your Email Inbox by Categorizing Your Email
One mistake many make when carrying out email management is putting everything into different folders and categories.
In essence, you’ve just sorted a lot of trash without taking them out.
Assuming that you have done the preliminary inbox cleaning, you’d then have to go through what is left and do further deletions.
To do that, there are a few steps you have to take.
- Open an entry and read it
Once done, ask yourself this question; Does this particular email ask me to do something?
- If the answer is yes, then keep it
However, if the answer is no, ask yourself this question; Will I need this later?
- If the answer to that succeeding question is still a no, then you should delete that entry.
- However, if the answer is a yes, then keep that entry.
If your inbox contains more than a hundred entries, it would be recommended that you devote a few hours of your day’s schedule into going through your business’s email.
Take the time to go through each entry, if the time allows for it, and delete all that you would feel are no longer useful.
Now that you have the most relevant emails in your inbox, you would then need to categorize them.
Since all of them are important for now, you don’t need to group them into a lot of sections.
As a matter of fact, the number of email categories you should have is only five.
They include the following;
The Main Inbox Category
This should be treated as the holding area for all your incoming mail.
What that means is that any piece of communication here should not stay longer for a day before you have to segregate them into other sections.
However, the exception here is emails that are part of an ongoing conversation between you and other people.
Since they require an immediate response from all parties, they can stay in the inbox for the duration of the correspondence.
Only sort and delete them once that conversation is over.
Daily Email Inbox Category
Every email that should be responded to within a day’s working hours should be placed here.
Consequently, this section should have the fastest turnover cycle in your email as entries must be deleted before the day ends.
Weekly Email Inbox Category
As the name implies, this section will contain all the emails that require a response within the week.
Just like the daily email category, this category must also be cleared out on a weekly basis.
Monthly/Quarterly Email Inbox Category
Place long-term response emails here.
This is also where a bulk of your emails can be sent into, making it the largest of your email categories.
You can further organize this section by placing every entry according to the month or quarter.
For Your Information Email Inbox Category
This is where every document with a long-standing duration should be placed such as memos, announcements, and company guidelines.
If you feel that that email has some information that you may need for reference in the future, you can place it here as well.
Organize Your Email Inbox By Automating Your Email
To save you a lot of time sorting through different incoming emails, you can automate the sorting process.
Programs like Office Outlook do have some email inbox organizing/management tools that allow for automatic sorting.
One of these is the Rule Creation feature that allows Outlook to instantly detect contents in the email and send them to the corresponding categories.
For instance, you can create a rule wherein all emails coming from a particular address would be filtered and sent to a certain section.
The web version of Outlook in Office 365 and even standard emails like those used by Google and Yahoo will have similar features.
However, they do give you the added benefit of mixing and matching rules with certain conditions and actions.
This may be tedious as you’d have to create different rules for multiple addresses.
But, if set right, the sorting process would be mostly automated.
All you would have to deal with in your inbox are emails from new addresses as well as those that require an immediate response.
Organize Your Email Inbox By Preventing Email Overload
One of the necessary steps in organizing your email inbox is preventing it from returning to that congested, messy state from before.
To do that, there are several tips that you should be aware of.
Choose Your Subscriptions Wisely
The biggest source of email mess would be the mails that you receive repeatedly from various sources.
Things like announcements from the e-magazines and journals you subscribed to would often fill your email with a lot of unnecessary emails.
Aside from that, your social media profiles and other online accounts tend to send messages to your email as a notification as a default setting.
One of the more effective inbox management tools in this instance would be a Spam Filter.
If you activate this filter, all emails coming from certain sources would be marked as spam, and then sent immediately to the spam folder.
Alternatively, you can choose to unsubscribe from all unnecessary subscriptions.
Either option is effective in reducing the chances of spam from filling up your main inbox.
Separate Your Business And Personal Mail
Another major source of mail congestion would be the fact that you use the same account for both your business and personal concerns.
One benefit of this consolidation is not having to switch accounts regularly.
But, it does leave your inbox flooded with a lot of emails coming from both aspects of your life.
As such, one of the best ways on how to manage email overload is to set up a different account for either your business or for your personal matters.
To do so, there are a few things that you can do:
- Take care with your business profile
Putting your business email in your profile on sites like LinkedIn might allow you to encounter a lot of potential clients.
However, it also leaves you exposed to a lot of unscrupulous people like hackers.
Since you cannot avoid giving out your business email, your next best option on how to manage email overload is to keep track of where you have posted such information.
Alternatively, do not give your business email address to your friends.
This would prevent their private emails from linking with yours.
It will, in turn, prevent spam emails from heading your way.
- Use a plugin
Picture this scenario:
You are expecting to receive a lot of emails for your business.
However, you expect that you and your team won’t attend to these emails until later on.
Perhaps your business is currently on a crunch period or is in the process of revamping much of its services and features.
Whatever the case, you can’t attend to these emails.
But, you would want to.
So how do you prevent these emails from clogging up your inbox?
One of the more ingenious solutions in managing email overload recently is email returning plugins like Boomerang.
Available for Google Mail and Outlook profiles.
The Boomerang plugin automatically deletes any email in your inbox if they were unread for quite a while.
However, at a later date, these emails will be sent again to you.
The Boomerang plugin can automate your outbox or send reminders to your contacts to respond to one of your emails.
All in all, it makes for a rather reliable email inbox organizer for businesses.
Using Hosted Email To Organize Your Email Inbox And What It Offers To You
If your business has grown to a considerable size, the volume of emails your business has to process through grows as well.
There will come a time when organizing your email inbox might become too exhaustive for you and your team.
It’s at this point that you should consider investing in a hosted email program like Microsoft’s Exchange Online service.
However, if you need further convincing, below are some of the advantages that these services offer to businesses.
As earlier stated, the reason many business owners use a single email for business and personal use is the sheer tediousness of shifting from one profile to another.
A hosted email service will not only give you a dedicated email network for your business.
It will also be an easy point of access to it.
If a profile has been verified, a user will only log in to his/her data once.
They will remain logged in from that point on even if they move to another registered device.
Higher Email Size Limits
Hosted email services feature limit sizes for emails that do not go lower than 100MB.
The advantage of this is that you don’t have to send multiple emails to clients to convey one message.
In other words, while you are learning how to manage your emails, you don’t accidentally contribute to overloading the email inbox of others.
Alternatively, hosted email servers can hold up to 50GB of inbox data and 150GB for archives.
This means you should be able to store more important emails in your network, while also managing email overload.
One of the tougher challenges in learning how to manage your emails is recovering old and deleted entries.
A new feature with hosted email services is the ability to “hold” email in place.
By marking an email on hold, you preserve an unalterable copy of that email in a separate directory accessible only by system administrators.
It is a handy email inbox organizer feature.
Putting emails on hold can be very helpful to you in case of litigation.
What if one of your employees willfully tampers or deletes incriminating emails?
What if one of your clients discover that you’ve shortchanged them in a transaction?
Possessing a copy of such communications in a well-preserved and unaltered state can help your business prove and dispute any claim, depending on the case.
In essence, your business can avoid spending a lot of time and money dealing with court expenses.
To Wrap Things Up On How to Organize Your Email Inbox
Although email in businesses is necessary, you would rather not spend too much time dealing with it.
After all, you and your team have a business to run.
You can’t spend all day just sifting through your email for old documents.
Consider restructuring how your business treats email arrangement in the inbox.
A properly optimized email system will not only free up a lot of your time.
It will also help your business focus on what is truly important.
In addition, it will help to make sure that every other system in the business is earning money for everyone in it.
Use these tips to organize your email inbox and save yourself from the stress of having an unorganized email inbox.
We’ve linked other informative and helpful articles to this one; Do check them out.