Inbox Zero: How To Finally Master Your Inbox

photo:nina suess
 

There are two types of people; those with a well-ordered inbox, and those who’ve always got 28 unread emails waiting. If your mailbox gives you serious panic attacks, worry no more! This is how I’ve mastered my inbox!

First: think!

Who mails you frequently? Where are your important emails? You need to create labels for your important emails so you can find them easily. For example, you can file all emails regarding your finances under ‘finances’ (or in my case ‘moneyyyy <3’, you have to make it fun for yourself!) and emails regarding your upcoming city trip under something like ‘Antwerp city trip‘. Make the labels specific, so your inbox will be easy to organize. You can always throw away your ‘Antwerp city trip’ box when you’re back, or change the name to a different city!

Clean that inbox!

Once you’ve got your labels, you start reading your mails. Maybe you can scan through; you don’t really need to catch up on old promotional mailings, but you might want to keep the Career Girl Daily newsletters. File everything you want to keep in its own folder! Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read with apps like Unroll.me. You need a system to reply to emails, so develop one. Need to answer a mail from your accountant? Do it now, so you won’t forget it. If you really can’t, flag it, so you can follow up the next day.

Boomerang those emails.

Our Managing Editor Beth swears by the ‘Inbox’ app by Gmail. You don’t have to have a Gmail account to use it, you can set up another inbox to divert to your Gmail inbox – but it’s amazing. You can boomerang emails back to yourself when you have more time to deal with them, so for example, if she gets an email at 6pm on a Friday night, she’ll set it to come back to her at 9am on Monday morning. Incredible.

And then what?

If like me, you have more than two addresses (work email and your private email), you might need different filing systems. Do whatever feels good (Kon Mari zen thoughts!) But one tip from me; make a “fun file” in your work mail. We all have those days where you feel down, and nothing cheers me up like reading old, nice and fun mails from coworkers or happy customers!

Don’t worry about throwing away too much; just make sure you don’t delete your ‘sent’ box. If something is really important, you’ve probably forwarded it or replied to it, so you can always find it back in your sent mail!

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