How to declutter your email inbox

By: Karen Cave

Date: 17 October 2017

How to declutter your email inboxHave you ever had that horrible feeling when you've spotted the number of items in your email inbox and realised just how much time it's going to take you to sort it out? It's hardly surprising if you're feeling overwhelmed and can't face tackling the pile-up.

Decluttering made easy

Imagine the emails in your inbox are the clothes in your wardrobe. There will be items of clothing you haven't worn in a year. You think you might want to wear them again, but the likelihood is you won't, so clear them out - if they're clothes you might stick them in the loft, give them away or sell them on eBay.

You can do the same thing with emails by creating folders. One option is to date them - for example, 2017-Q1. Now you can boldy sweep all the date-related emails into their respective folders - all except those you have received in the past month.

This might seem like a cut-throat method but it's a great springboard for establishing a new Zen-like relationship with your inbox.

Another option is to create your own scheme of classification - by subject, sender or group, for example. Then you can move emails from your inbox into the appropriate folder, deleting any you don't need as you go.

While you are doing this, pay attention to those emails that you've subscribed to. How useful are they and do they warrant your time and attention? This is an ideal opportunity to unsubscribe - look for unsubscribe links at the footer of these emails.

Clearing the decks

While I'm writing this blog, I'm actually applying these techniques and feeling lighter for it - in fact, my inbox now has just 10 items. How are your numbers looking? How are you feeling?

Now it's time to look at the emails you've received in the past month. Hopefully, after all that filing and unsubscribing, you are left with a more manageable list of emails to go through.

How to work out what you need

When clearing out a wardrobe, one way of identifying items you do and do not wear is to turn the hangers around with their hooks facing away. As you wear each article turn the hanger the right way. By the end of the year, you'll know which items you have or haven't worn and have a clear idea of what works for you.

You can do the same with email rules. Create a rule to tell your system when to file your email into a folder automatically. If your folder shows lots of unread messages at the end of a month, say - do you want to keep receiving them?

Keep it tidy

Tidying up your email inbox must become a regular habit. Just as you hang up your clothes and put your underwear in the wash basket every evening, take a few minutes to sort through the day's email before you log off for the day.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Karen Cave, Netitude.