I am not one of those people who can sit calmly when the red bubble hovers with any number above that inbox icon. Having a full inbox (with read or unread messages, doesn’t really matter) is a total brain suck. Emails, the administrative task of answering them and clearing out your inbox is usually not the task that makes it to the top of your to do list on its own. I mean, do you like having a clean, organized inbox? Probably. But do you like actually cleaning it and organizing it? Probably not. So if you work from home, work in an office or just have a messy personal inbox that makes you crazy — here are a few tips/life hacks for taking control of that beast and gifting yourself a bit more mind space.
Do you get a lot of newsletters? Things you maybe don’t even read anymore? Or things you didn’t even (this is the worst BTW) sign up for? Unsubscribe from any of the things that fall on this list, if you don’t read it or haven’t opened the emails in months — why stay subscribed? Think of your inbox as your closet, purge that beast of all unwanted things. Sometimes you just grow and things don’t fit anymore, same might go for emails you subscribed for ages ago. OR you can use a service like Unroll.me and make this whole process even quicker and almost totally annoying-free!
Create folders for your emails. You don’t have to go and do this now, but as you read an email think about what type of file it might belong in, and then create a new folder and file it.
If we are talking Gmail talk: when the email is open > click the file folder (move to) button on the top toolbar > either choose a previously made folder OR create a new one by typing the name in the text box > click create new > filed!
I like to create folders and then a nest label under with years or months under those and save emails based timing, under the main folder. RECEIPTS > 2015. It makes it easier to find things when/if I need them.
I desperately need to take my own advice on this one, but it’s such a hard one to follow through with. And even harder if you check your email on your phone. I tend to check my email on my phone, but I don’t actually like to respond from my phone (nor do I have the time, usually) so I’m consistently forgetting to go back and respond (since I already read it). The way better practice is to check your email when you are at your desk only and respond when you are there, not later. Basically this tip is for me, a gentle reminder. And then after you respond, file that sucker away!
CUT RESPONSE TIME
I don’t know about you (or how your biz goes), but I find myself often typing the same or similar response to emails, all the time. Especially when it comes to this blogs emails, since I honestly don’t have time to type the same response over and over again (not trying to sound all showy offy, it just sounded grosser then I meant) I started using canned responses and my life changed. I now have a few canned responses that I have saved and then I use them accordingly, altering them for each specific response, so they are personal. It’s a life saver I tell you.
How do you set up canned responses? Well if we are talking Gmail talk:
Click the Settings button (gear shaped icon at the top right corner of your inbox) > click the Labs tab > scroll to Enabled Labs, then click the enable button beside “canned responses” > scroll to the bottom of the page and Save.
Creating your very own canned responses — if we are still talking Gmail talk:
Create a new message you’d like to use over and over again > type the body of that message > Click the little arrow (more options) in the bottom right corner of that message > Find “Canned Responses” > Click ‘new canned response‘ and name it.
Then when you want to use a canned response (still on Gmail):
Click Reply to the email > Click the little arrow (more options) in the bottom right corner of that message > Find Canned Responses > under Insert find the name of the response you’d like to use and click it.
AND JUST FOR FUN, AN EXTRA TIP: Do you have more than one email address? Why not try consolidating all your email addresses into one single inbox — magical. If you use Gmail (clearly I like gmail), you can do this quick and easy — and then you only have to check one inbox, happily ever after.
Consolidating your email addresses:
Click the Settings button (gear shaped icon at the top right corner of your inbox) > Go to check mail from other accounts > and then click learn more to learn how (because I forget, it’s been so long — I don’t want to give you bad advice).
And now look at you, clear inbox, clear brain — well clearer inbox and a tiny bit clearer brain.