09/03/09
Amy

(Organization) Inbox Arrangement


So much important information travels in and out of our email. Appointments, play dates, announcements, order and shipment information, social events, school updates, newsletters, sale flyers, personal correspondence….the list goes on. Yet the emails inevitably become one big blob. A blob in which dates are forgotten, deadlines missed, and personal response never makes the transition from an intent to reality.

With a few simple organizational adjustments, you can remove the element of chaos from your inbox.

First, organize your inbox with the ultimate goal of making it your email-based “to-do” list. You want to keep your main inbox folder clear of all emails except those where immediate action is need.

The key is to create folders within your inbox to store your emails. You want to create a place for each email that you want to keep, but no longer requires immediate action. You do this by creating named folders. A few examples are: Kids/School, Pictures, Recipes, Work, Church, Purchases, or a folder named for a specific person. Your understanding of categories that work for you will develop over time. As soon as an email no longer requires immediate action, it is either sent to a new home in one of these folders or is deleted. It should not sit in your inbox for longer than 3 or 4 days, and certainly no longer than a week. If you have not acted on it by then, you probably won’t. It will just move its way further down the list and be forgotten. These forgotten emails gather over time and create an ever-looming feeling of being behind.

Very briefly reevaluate your inbox a couple of times a week to make sure that emails have been responded to or have been put into the correct folder.

This is a simple organizational adjustment that will help your relationships, schedule, and stress level. An empty, or nearly empty, inbox is a beautiful thing.

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