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Why you should have an empty inbox…and how to get one

Do you open your inbox each day and sigh at the number of emails that you have received…or that are still sitting in your inbox?

I had been!

And I currently have 4 email inboxes on the go – my personal / my business / my volunteer organisation / one client.

So, earlier this month, I made it my mission to clear out MY BUSINESS inbox.

I allocated a couple of hours to spend going through the emails that were in my inbox, and deleting or moving them…leaving only a handful of emails that required my action.


How did that make me feel?

E X C I T E D!!!!

Considering I’ve helped clients manage their inboxes…but haven’t managed my own, well it was making me feel overwhelmed! But we’ve all heard the saying about tradies not doing their own work at home? The same for me!

So why should you aim for an empty inbox?

Two advantages of a streamlined inbox:

  1. Don’t miss stuff
  2. Less stress and overwhelm

So how do I usually manage my inbox?

Firstly I utilise folders, so that once I’ve dealt with the email in the inbox, I move it out. My folders are as follows:

  • Admin (then subfolders where needed)
  • Clients – Client Name (subfolder) – Actioned <year> (sub sub folder!)
  • Leads

And there are others – but these are main ones!

I then generally try and use the rule of only handling it once – so I either deal with it then and then (ie: under one minute) or flag it to remind me to review it at a later time.

I allocate specific time throughout my day to check/action my inbox and turn off the notifications so that I don’t have them popping up on my screen.

I also set boundaries by not having my emails accessible on my mobile, ensuring that I am not doing business 24 hours a day.

What else am I doing to manage my inbox?

  • Add tasks from client emails directly into my project management tool (I’ve finally settled on Asana and loving it!) and allocate a due date.
  • Any emails that I have signed up for, I am really taking the time to review whether the information is relevant to me and my needs and if not, I am unsubscribing!
  • Use RULES to sort other emails that I still want to receive which stops me instantly receiving emails (just remember to allocate time to review those emails!)

How to get started on your inbox

  1. Start by purging emails you no longer want
  2. Archive emails you are not ready to delete
  3. Delete newsletters and other ‘for pleasure’ emails that have been sitting in your inbox for over one week
  4. Unsubscribe from promotional emails you no longer or need
  5. Ask to be taken off “group” emails
  6. If you need to forward an email – do it immediately then delete the email (or file in a subfolder if required)
  7. Set up as many folders as you need
  8. Set up “rules” or “filters” to move emails immediately to the relevant folder
  9. Flag anything that you cannot action straight away (then set up a process for when you handle these emails)
  10. Allocate specific time throughout your day to check/action emails as opposed to when it immediately arrives in your inbox

How to you manage your inbox? Post a comment below and share your tips.

Now I’m off to tackle my PERSONAL INBOX!

Until next time!