Got a messy, cluttered inbox? It’s ok, you’re not alone. Most people do. Including me. . .at one point in time. Cleaning up your inbox can be scary at first, but trust me, it’ll be one of the best things you ever do.
Let me ask you a few questions. . .
How many emails do you have in your inbox right now? If you have less than 10, I commend you. You’re a rockstar if you have zero! If you have over 20 emails, you’re just like me. On any given day, my personal email receives 20 to 50 emails. Believe it or not, this is significantly less than it used to be. If it sounds like a lot, don’t let the number overwhelm you. If it sounds like very little, you’re probably one of the many out there that never clean up their inbox. Regardless of the number of emails you receive every day, the rest of this post will help you whittle that number down.
How many email addresses do you have at this very moment? If you can’t remember, go look because this will be important. I used to have five to six email addresses and they were all used for different things. There was one email for personal stuff, one for business stuff, one specifically for sale ads, one for anything related to the fur babies and a few others I honestly can’t remember anymore. Having to manage all of those email addresses got overwhelming. Narrowing it down to three – personal, business, and fur babies – saved me time and my sanity.
Speaking of sanity. . .
How do you feel when you open your Inbox?
- Stressed and overwhelmed? It might be because you have too many emails or feel the pressure to get your inbox down to zero.
- Anxious? Maybe it’s because you know the number of emails in your inbox and you know it’s not as organized as you’d like it to be.
- Worried or like you’re a failure? You may be afraid you won’t have time to respond to a time-sensitive email and if you don’t, you look like a failure.
When you feel all these feelings, you may even get to a point where you avoid your inbox. Especially when it becomes too much to deal with. When you get to this stage, you need to start cleaning up your inbox.
Tips to Clean Up Your Inbox
Here are six tips that helped me decrease the number of email addresses I have and drastically reduce the number of emails I received every day.
Tip # 1 – Look at your email twice per day
Instead of having your email open throughout the day and checking it every hour, pop in there just once in the morning and once at night. Doing this allows you to set aside time and be more focused when you’re checking your email. When you’re in your inbox, delete the emails you’ve read and don’t need to keep and leave messages unread that require a response.
Tip # 2 – Create labels and/or folders to organize the emails you keep
Labels and folders help you organize the emails you need to keep. I have Gmail and use labels and stars to identify “like emails” that I need to hold onto. Things like vacation reservations, discount codes or client emails. Other service providers, like Outlook, have folders that can serve the same purpose. Doing this helps you quickly identify specific emails rather than searching through the entire inbox.
Tip # 3 – Unsubscribe
This might strike a nerve, but unsubscribing is one of my favorite action to take. Emails that do not bring value are emails that you might want to stop getting. Take a look at your inbox and determine what emails you immediately delete without even opening. Sale ads, alerts with news updates or events that are coming to your area and newsletters you subscribed to just to get the freebie are some of the types of emails you may want to consider unsubscribe from receiving.
Tip # 4 – Condense the number of email addresses you have
If you’re like I was and have five or more email addresses, you definitely want to consider condensing them into fewer emails. You can do this easily by setting up email forwarding (which I prefer) or changing the registered email you have with subscriptions. The best part about condensing the number of email addresses you have is that you’ll spend less time checking your email.
Tip # 5 – Change your habits with subscribing
Make a conscious effort moving forward to ONLY subscribe to emails that will bring value to your life. You don’t really need every sale ad for every place you shop, do you? Maybe you do and if that brings you value, then go for it! I subscribe to REAL SIMPLE for their organization and cleaning tips, to Marie Forleo for her humor and awesome business education and to Chalene and Brock Johnson’s emails for their business and Instagram tips. Decide what email you want to receive and only have those come to your inbox.
Tip # 6 – Do an email audit every six months
What’s an email audit? Simple – go into your inbox every six months and review all the labels, folders and emails you have saved and determine if they are still relevant for you. You may have outdated labels or folders that you no longer need (i.e. vacation reservation emails from last year) and you may need to add new ones to take their place. If you have labels, folders and emails you no longer need, delete them and keep your inbox clean and organized.