Inbox Organization for Work

No matter how many other apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams have seemed to relegate email to a secondary tier of business communication, the fact remains it’s still a major part of your workday. It’s something that needs to be managed in addition to, not instead of, these other modes of communicating.

Here are 7 quick ways to slay your inbox at work:

  1. Do it second – Email doesn’t have to be the first thing you check. In fact, texts, DMs, and Slacks don’t have to be either. Finish off a big to-do before digging into your inbox.
  2. Stop the interruptions – Turn off email notifications on your phone. If something is urgent, you’ll get a call or a text. Don’t let the ‘ding’ rule your day.
  3. Reply when it works for you – Some business leaders already do this. If you look closely at their email signature, it might say something like “I answer emails at 11:00am and 3pm”. Setting aside time assures a more measured, thoughtful reply, too.
  4. Use the 20/80 rule – Twenty percent of your emails are likely the most urgent and important. Address them accordingly and let the other 80% wait till later. Don’t feel like every email carries the same weight. They don’t.
  5. Unsubscribe – This one speaks for itself. If you haven’t opened a newsletter in the last 3 months, hit the unsubscribe button. If you find you really miss hearing from someone in particular, go back and subscribe. But the odds of that are slim compared to the upside.
  6. Use separate accounts – Don’t send personal stuff to your work email and vice versa. In fact, if you don’t have a special inbox for newsletters (the ones you actually open) consider that. You’ll feel liberated overnight.
  7. Use add-ons – Gmail and other email software have plugins and widgets to help manage your inbox, filtering emails by type, sender, and more. If you want to be a real super-user, check out what’s available and take your inbox to the next level.

This might seem like a lot to do, but you owe it to yourself to not let your inbox rule your day. Try a few of them and see how it feels. And within a few weeks, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do all of this sooner.