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May 5, 2017

Tips for Managing Your Inbox

Now I would not say that I am the queen of keeping my email inbox empty… but I am highly obsessed with keeping it regularly cleaned out. I really think that keeping certain areas of your business life clean and organized can tremendously affect your work ethic! For me, when my inbox is overflowing with emails, I can’t focus on my other tasks, like editing!

It’s actually one of the first things I do when I get into my office every morning. I sit down, and almost immediately start going through my emails. I try to be done with business things by around 5pm, so there’s typically a few client emails waiting. If I can go ahead and knock those out, then I’m free to spend the rest of my time editing!

So here are the steps that I use to keep this little corner of my business a little neater:

  1. First you have to begin with a blank canvas. If your inbox is piled full of old emails (spam, subscriptions, etc), take a few hours and just clean it all out. Delete the emails you’ll never use (like the Old Navy coupons from 3 years ago… You don’t need those. I promise.). If you’re a hoarder and can’t bare to part with them, make a separate folder to store them in. The goal is to get your email down to only the emails you still need to respond to, or the ones that are pertinent to right now. For example, I will leave client emails in my inbox until I respond, but I will also occasionally leave emails from stores that notify me of a great sale ;) That way I remember to check the sale and still spend way more money than I should.
  2. If you have a bunch of emails left over, try setting a timer and forcing yourself to answer / sort as many emails as you can in that time period. 
  3. Once you finally get down to that glorious “Inbox (0)”, try your best to answer emails as soon as they come in. I have stopped working on this blog post 3 times just to answer emails! Especially when ones come in that are part of your subscriptions. I’ll skim through it really fast, and if it doesn’t matter, I’ll archive it right away. Back to zero! Woooo! Some people don’t have a brain that works like this, and they can’t be distracted by notifications like that. If that’s you, try to just work in 5-10 minutes every hour or two where you simply focus on emails.
  4. Work your way through the emails backwards. When you get back into your office, unless the email is super time sensitive, don’t respond to the latest one! Not only is this respectful to your clients (not that they know the order you respond to emails… but still), it helps you to get the old emails out faster.

For example, I just now got a notification that I had an email from Borrowed & Blue. I’m going to go check it super fast, and archive it when I’m done. Boom, back to zero!

One of the really great things about keeping your inbox cleared out, is it forces you to get your crap done. I have occasionally had an email or two sitting in my inbox for a few days, because I need to remember to do it. Like paying my phone bill… Now I almost immediately pay it, because if I don’t, the email will just sit in my inbox and stress me out.

Wow, that really says something about me if I would way rather pay my phone bill than simply have an email sit in my inbox… hahaha.

Hopefully these tips help you to manage your emails! It’s honestly become something that I enjoy doing. I love taking time to respond to inquiries and client questions! Once you get your inbox down to the bare minimum, it will make your life SO much less stressful! I promise!

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