Just like every other aspect of your office, the key to organizing your email is to have an organizing system in place. Instead of getting lost in the chaos that can be your inbox, check out these email management tips from your NYC Professional Office Organizer to help you get
Create a schedule. Instead of coming into work and immediately getting swept away by an overflowing inbox, schedule time in your day for processing email. It’s easy to get wrapped up in reading and responding to emails. You could find yourself spending more time in your inbox than you do on tasks that need to be completed that day. For a business that doesn’t rely heavily on email, you can schedule time once a day to check your inbox. For businesses that use email much more frequently, you may need to schedule a few times during the day for clearing out the latest round of new messages. Set a timer as processing your email should take no more than 15-30 minutes depending on the volume of mail that is received.
Create a filing system. This is an important email management tip! Instead of leaving all your read emails unorganized in your inbox, create a filing system that will allow you to easily locate what you need. Start by identifying categories that are used most frequently or matching your paper filing system (if you still use one) and label them by year or by quarter. Then create folders for newsletters, projects, clients, or whatever categories fit your needs. The key here is creating labels that you can easily recognize so that you waste no time in filing new messages or searching for emails that you need.
Use filters and rules. A filter or rule set up within your email program which automatically processes emails and organizes them according to specified criteria is an excellent tool. These are especially helpful for processing emails that aren’t as important but that need to be saved, or to keep specific emails grouped together. For example, you may get regular reports from an online tool that you use, such as Hootsuite for social media marketing. Though this report is important, it doesn’t require your immediate attention, so you can set up a filter or rule that will bring in all those emails to a specific folder instead of cluttering up your inbox. Then, you’ll know exactly where those reports are when it’s time for you to review them. You can create filters and rules for any number of purposes and they are a simple way to keep your inbox free for important correspondence.
Save your inbox space. Your inbox should only be used for storing new unread messages. While processing your emails, note which emails can be responded to in less than 2 minutes and do so right away. If you need more time to research or prepare a response, flag them in your inbox or move them to a to-do folder. Then add that task to your to-do list so that you make time to come back to it later. Once an email has been processed, move it immediately to the specific dedicated folder. Having a clear inbox will feel less overwhelming and will also allow you to focus on those new incoming emails that require your attention.
Taking time today to create a system using these email management tips will save you time that you can designate for more important tasks and projects. When you need more hands-on strategies and support for email management and office organizing, reach out to this NYC Professional Office Organizer.