Whether you need to keep track of your financial information, stay in touch with friends and family, or coordinate projects with colleagues, your email plays a critical role in your day-to-day life. With so much information flowing in and out of our inbox, it is no wonder why it can sometimes feel like we don’t have our email under control.
In this article, you will learn some surprisingly simple and effective ways to get your email under control to get your inbox organized so you can be more productive.
Email folders are wasting your time
Filing emails into folders is not a good use of your time and isn’t helping you become more organized. Creating folders in your inbox is a dated method to file and organize emails, more than likely to have already been read and reviewed, to be easily accessible and retrieved at a later time. Not only does it take time to create the folders, but research has shown that retrieval from custom-made folders is slow and inefficient. Modern email clients have made email retrieval very effective with innovations in inbox search, email threads, labels, and more that are far more efficient than folder retrieval.
Rather than create folders to file away emails, consider actioning emails right away by archiving, deleting, or responding as needed. If you still feel the need to file certain emails to get your email under control, consider automated email filters or labels while leveraging inbox search whenever possible.
One word: Delete
Quite often our inbox is being overloaded with newsletters, junk, promotional content we don’t need, and dozens of other distractions. One simple way to help get your inbox under control is to action these unimportant emails immediately by deleting them. Unless you want to take advantage of that limited-time offer of 20% off buy-one-get-one sale, you can archive the email to review later, otherwise, simply delete it. Both your productivity and your wallet will thank you.
Limit promotional emails
Have you ever noticed that after clicking on an offer from an online retailer’s email, you began to receive more emails from them? That’s because email marketing tools used by retailers, smartphone apps, and subscription services are designed to intelligently react to your email interactions and engagement. Every time you open or click a link in a promotional email, the sender’s marketing automation software receives a signal. Not only does the marketing software think you are engaged, but they think you liked the email so much that they will send you more emails to persuade you to purchase their product or sign up for their service.
If you’re ready to kick the marketing cycle to help get your email under control, you can start by archiving or deleting promotional emails as they enter your inbox. If you want to put an end to them you should consider unsubscribing from their email marketing completely.
Don’t “Opt-in” at Checkout
If you’re growing tired of constantly unsubscribing from promotional emails, then consider how they land in your inbox in the first place. More often than not, these emails are completely optional and require your opt-in when you download an app, make an online purchase, or subscribe to a new streaming service. While the laws around marketing emails are not the same around the world, most jurisdictions do require your optional consent to sign up for promotional emails.
The next time you make an online purchase, look out for any checkboxes before checkout that ask for your permission to receive promotional emails. These can be pre-checked, so be sure to uncheck the box if you aren’t interested in receiving emails.
Stop treating email as a To-Do List
We’re all guilty of composing an email draft to jot down a reminder to ourselves, list off a way to revolutionize our business or post a link to an article we want to read later. Using our emails as a to-do list often seems like a convenient way to set reminders and list tasks to complete. Unfortunately, what we end up with is a bunch of forgotten draft emails filling our inbox of old thoughts and tasks.
Rather than using your inbox for non-email-related tasks, such as note-taking and to-do lists, continue to focus on ensuring you are operating a productive inbox. Keep your task management and note-taking to external tools or extensions so that when you’re in your inbox you are free from distractions and your inbox is under control.
Reduce how many emails you send
Not all emails require an email response. With so many tools and platforms to help with project management, communication, and organization, sometimes actioning an email over Slack, over a call, or in a project ticket is not only more efficient but more effective at keeping your inbox organized. Plus, every email you send, reply to, and forward could result in another email coming back to you, adding more emails to your inbox to sort through and action.
The next time you go through actioning emails, remember that there are likely other more effective options rather than replying, forwarding, or sending a new email.
Bonus: Focus incoming email on your priorities
Outside of unsubscribing from email lists and hiding our email address from publicly listed channels, it’s challenging to manage who can send us an email. Fortunately, InMoat was developed to give email users control over their inboxes by letting them manage their inbox priorities. With InMoat, you select the types of emails that are important to you, such as personal finances, travel itineraries, shipping notifications, and much more. Any emails that are sent to you that fit your selection will always land in your inbox, everything else will be filtered to a new folder to be reviewed at a later time.
InMoat makes it easy to get your inbox under control by automatically filtering out the unimportant and non-urgent messages so you can stay focused and improve your productivity.
If you want to get your email under control, sign up for InMoat’s 30-day free trial.