7 steps to clear your inbox

Email Inbox declutter

Is your inbox getting you down?

These 7 steps will help you get back in control of your jammed inbox. Even if you implement just one, you are making a positive change to how you deal with your email:

1.  Let yourself off the hook
Almost everyone I’ve met is dealing with the ongoing battle with email. Congratulate yourself that you are devoting time and energy to tackle the problem.

2.  Work in disconnected mode
Set yourself up for success. When you process your email, turn off all notifications. Those dings and buzzes will only distract you from the task. Working in offline mode ensures you are protecting your focus and attention.

3.  Avoid replying while you’re processing
Processing your inbox is about sorting, not replying. If you stop to answer emails, you will delay (and likely sideline) your efforts to get your inbox under control. Instead, group those emails that must be answered into a folder and deal with them once you’ve finished processing.

4.  Sort by sender
Hacking away at your emails one-by-one is exhausting. Try sorting by sender to quickly eliminate multiple emails and conversation strings.

5.  Create a filing structure based on how you think
Are you a filer or a searcher? If you’re a filer, create folders with broad categories like Clients or Marketing. If you’re a searcher, create a folder by year and move everything in there.

6.  Create filters/rules
Some emails don’t even need to go into your inbox, such as newsletters. Applying filters to these emails will allow them to bypass your inbox and go straight into another folder where you’ll deal with them on your terms.

7.  Unsubscribe
Unsubscribe to any newsletter or publication that you never read.

Inbox declutter

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