Hey there, lovely readers!
Lately, I’ve been delving into the world of emails, and when trying to declutter your inbox, I must say it’s not the sexiest topic out there, but it’s something many of us grapple with daily. As someone deeply immersed in skincare blogging and the adventure of being an environmental design student, I often find myself deep in discussions with other bloggers and creators. It’s like one giant focus group, and I’m constantly amazed by the questions and concerns you all bring to the table.
One frequent topic of discussion is the overwhelm that emails can bring, and here’s where my journey as a skincare blogger and content creator adds an interesting twist. In my world, the inbox isn’t just a place for personal correspondence; it’s a bustling hub filled with emails from skincare brands, collaborations, product launches, and inquiries from readers seeking skincare advice.
The truth is that managing an inbox flooded with brand partnerships, product promotions, and genuine skincare inquiries can be as challenging as it is rewarding, especially when I don’t have separate work and personal accounts.
We pour a significant portion of our work-related stress into our inboxes, and I’m no exception. As someone with ADHD, I often struggle with forgetting about emails I should reply to or feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messages. The more unanswered emails I see lurking in my inbox, the more stressed I feel – it’s a clear and constant source of stress. So, how can we better manage our inboxes and inch closer to the coveted state of ‘No Messages Selected’?
I’ve got some tips straight from my experience that will help you organize and declutter your inbox.
I also just finished my 15 page free eBook “Master Your Inbox: 10 Strategies to Declutter Your Email For Maximum Productivity“. I delve into more strategies and deeper into the inbox decluttering world, so if you need a more comprehensive guide, click above and download the PDF.
Table of Contents
Steps to Declutter Your Inbox
Now, let’s explore some practical methods for regaining control over your email management.
Starting Fresh: How To Declutter Email Inbox for a Clean Slate
Sometimes, a fresh start is the best way to go. Select all and hit that delete button. Yes, it might feel a bit scary, but it’s a necessary step to declutter your inbox. If you’re worried about deleting something important, take a week or a month to flag the emails you frequently refer back to or find valuable in your work or personal life.
Save those from the chopping block and organize them into categories that make sense to you. Voilà! You’ve already set up a framework for the future. When a new email arrives, either respond right away to clear it from your immediate view, leave it in your inbox if it requires action, or file it away once you’ve addressed it. No looking back.
Streamline Email Notifications: Optimize Your Inbox Management
Set your email app to push. This step is beneficial regardless of your inbox strategy. Having your emails fetch only when you open the app allows you to compartmentalize the task. On my mobile device, I keep it in battery-saving mode during the week, so I have to manually refresh my inbox when I open the app to see new messages.
On my desktop, I keep the app closed until I’m ready to deal with my emails. The absence of a growing red notification number on your homepage and intrusive pop-up notifications, when you’re in the middle of a task makes managing emails much more manageable.
Separate Work and Personal Accounts for Clarity in Your Blogger Life
Establishing a clear division between your role as a blogger (or in any freelance position where you might not have a dedicated work email) and your personal life is essential, especially when it comes to your inbox. Personally, I’ve struggled with this at times, but I’m determined to make a change. Consider using separate email accounts for your blogging activities and personal matters.
Having distinct accounts helps prevent work-related stress from seeping into your personal life and vice versa. It also simplifies your email management by allowing you to focus on one set of messages at a time. This clear separation can reduce stress and increase productivity in your work and personal life.
Use Rules and Filters for Automated Organization
When you’re inundated with emails, automation becomes your best friend. Email clients offer features like rules and filters that allow you to sort and categorize incoming messages automatically. Create rules to divert newsletters, promotional emails, or messages from specific senders into dedicated folders.
Filters can help you prioritize emails based on keywords, senders, or other criteria. Implementing these automated tools lets you keep your inbox neat and tidy without sifting through a mountain of messages daily.
Master Your Inbox with the ‘Three Times a Day’ Rule
Implement the ‘Three Times a Day’ rule once you’ve set your inbox to fetch messages only when you want it to. Take it a step further by establishing a timetable for when it’s best to check it. If you find yourself checking it multiple times daily and drowning in unanswered emails, adopt the ‘three times a day’ rule. Check your inbox in the morning to respond to messages from the previous evening or overnight. At lunchtime, tidy up any urgent morning emails.
Before you finish your workday, do one final check to address anything left. This approach keeps me on top of things without feeling overwhelmed. Short, focused bursts work well for me, allowing me to address urgent matters promptly. Find time slots that work for you, keeping your check-ins short and sweet and ensuring they don’t interfere with your more significant tasks.
Optimize Your Email Workflow with a Designated Reply Time
Establish a designated reply time. More and more, I receive automated responses from people who’ve designated specific times for email replies. Some only answer emails on certain days or at particular hours. They include this information in their email signatures and set up an automatic reply to let people know when to expect a response. It’s a win-win situation.
Those who set these rules do so to reduce inbox stress and free up time for other tasks, while those on the receiving end know when to anticipate a reply. If this approach suits your role, set up an automatic message detailing your email strategy to go out to all who email you. A simple message like, “To maximize productivity, I only check emails on specific days or times, so please bear with me. Your business is important to me, and I’ll get back to you soon” is an excellent template to use.
Set a Personal Inbox Management Goal
Set your own goal. Many of us use our inbox as a to-do list, keeping emails there until they’ve been addressed or the associated tasks have been completed. That’s how I use mine, too. Nothing gets filed away until I’ve taken care of the emails. Achieving inbox zero every evening is attainable on some days, but a pipe dream on others, and that’s okay.
While zero emails may be the dream, it’s not a failure if it’s not always our reality. Set a specific number as a measuring stick for your inbox’s manageability. Your number will be unique to you. Experiment, find your number, and make that your goal.
Taking Control of Your Inbox Is The Last Stage of Email Organizing
By implementing these strategies, you can take control of your inbox, reduce stress, and increase your productivity. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to email management, so find what works best for you and make it a habit. With a well-organized inbox, you’ll have more time and mental space to focus on what truly matters in your life and career. Say goodbye to email overwhelm and hello to inbox nirvana.
I hope these tips help you navigate the email jungle and bring you closer to the blissful state of ‘No Messages Selected.’ Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so find the best approach for you.
Have I helped you? Did you find the answer you were looking for? IF not, let me know in the comments below, and I will reply within a day.
IF yes, then Happy inbox organizing!