9 Ways to Organize your Inbox

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9 Ways to Organize your Inbox

Whichever kind of person you are, organization is still key. Check out these 9 ways to organize your inbox today!

  1.  Organize often. 
    • Set 1-3 specific blocks of time aside for answering email each day.  Go down your list of emails, and either respond, delete or archive, snooze it for later, or file it. You may want to use the following four categories to guide your prioritization: 
      • Urgent and important
      • Urgent and non-important
      • Non-urgent and important
      • Non-urgent and non-important

If you are a compulsive email checker this will help cut down on wasted time, and if you are an email procrastinator this will make sure you do get to your messages regularly.

  1. Create folders (and sub-folders).
    • You can set up folders based on criteria like:
      • When they need to be dealt with (this week, end of day, etc.)
      • Who they are from (parents, admin, other teachers,students, subscriptions, etc.)
  2. Set up filters.
    • Organize your incoming mail before you’ve even viewed it. For example, if you have worksheet subscription emails coming in, you can set it up so that rather than going into your inbox along with emails that need immediate attention from parents and admin, they go straight into their own label called “subscriptions”. It still shows the red “1” like when a new email comes in beside the label so you can see when you have something, but your main inbox is much tidier.  Each service does this a little differently, so check out this guide on how to filter emails.  An app like Clean Email can set up rules automatically and automate email tasks like combining emails so you can clean your inbox quickly, organizing emails into groups, and automating other repetitive tasks.
  3. Use symbols.
    • You can assign symbols and/or color categories to each email to help sort your messages.
  4. Have separate email addresses.
    • In addition to having a separate email for personal and professional use, you may also want to have an email address for formal LinkedIn, etc.  Filters can then be set up to funnel all the emails into your main email address so you don’t have to log into multiple accounts, but the messages for each address will stay filed within their labels.
  • 6. Archive.
    • Archiving emails can be the perfect solution for those who hate the idea of removing an email forever (in case they need that information later), but still want a “0 Inbox”.
  • 7. Snooze emails for later.
    • You can also snooze emails to remove them from your immediate list of worries, but make sure you have another chance to look at it later.
  • 8. Unsubscribe.
    • You probably do not need everything that you are subscribed to.  If you haven’t used anything offered by a company in the last 5 emails they’ve sent you, it may be time to stop wasting precious seconds and emotional energy filing (or deleting) their emails.
  • 9. Wipe your slate clean. 
    • Give yourself permission not to go back and organize your current mountain of emails.  Just start from today.

Extra Tips for Gmail:

  • With keyboard shortcuts you can search through, view, read and reply to an email without having to touch the mouse.  You’ll be surprised how much time it will save when you are having to look through and reply to lots of emails.  To enable the shortcuts, go to the Advanced tab within Settings in google mail, then click on the new Keyboard Shortcuts option within the Addons tab to customize it.
  • There are several ways to email groups of people other than typing email addresses individually.  You can enter a saved list of recipients with Contact Groups, or send an email to a Google Group email address that forwards the email to all group members.
  • Google Tasks integrates with Gmail and Calendar.  You can have a to-do list that allows functionality such as Tasks created from an email displaying a “related email” link below the task.  Microsoft Outlook has a similar feature also!

Do you want to teach students about email? Check out the blog post Teaching Email in the Elementary Classroom

9 Ways to Organize your Inbox
Brittany Washburn

Brittany Washburn

Hi, I'm Brittany. I'm an educator obsessed with technology and passionate about teaching students 21st century skills. I'm so glad you came to visit my website.

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Hi, I’m Brittany! I’m an educator obsessed with teaching with technology. Check out my free PD for technology teachers!

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