Organising your emails.
Welcome to Week 42 of Tidy 2020. Last week we focused on decluttering digital documents; this week we are staying digital, but going online and focussing on our emails.
It is not unusual to be overrun by emails and the first step here is to have a good clear out of your inbox.
1. Categorise. Use the search function on your email to check by categories. For example, if you search for “Amazon” everything relating to that should pop up and you can decide what to do with it.
2. Discard. With emails, I discard almost everything. If I decide it is important, like a receipt that I can’t find elsewhere, or a correspondence that I want to keep, I file it in one of my folders, but be aware that this can be a slippery slope too – don’t blindly file, ensure that you really are only keeping what you need. For example, do I really need the amazon receipt for a set of pencils that I bought? Or the books? Once they have arrived, I’m not going to send them back, so I might as well delete the receipt. I generally only hang on to digital receipts if I would hang on the physical version.
3. Unsubscribe. Those offer emails? For stuff that you don’t need and really shouldn’t be buying? Bin them – use the search function to find them all, highlight and then trash. Then, and this is the really important part – unsubscribe from those emails. I have just two or three emails now that come in with offers that I might consider, the rest have gone. The same with random newsletters – if I’m uninterested, they go. Unsubscribing is a huge part of email management.
4. File. If you really need to keep something, then you can file it within a SMALL number of folders. I listened to a talk once that suggested that rather than try to delete emails, you could literally just dump them in folders by year and this does have the advantage that it is quick! The thinking behind it was that you could use the search function of your email to find anything that you needed and that it kept your inbox manageable to just those things that you needed to do something about. This might be a solution that works for you – if it does, then great. Anything over 7 years old, delete.
5. Create a To Do list in your calendar, not your inbox. Use your calendar rather than your email for reminders – I’m not going to go into default diaries in Tidy 2020, but put the information that you need into your digital calendar, including links into the note section and then let the email go.
6. Turn your notifications off. Don’t be at the beck and call of everyone else. Set time to check your emails and don’t do it apart from at those times. It will make you more efficient (I promise).