Decluttering Your Emails

I would like to share with you five tips about how to organise your email. 

A lot of people I come across have everything stored in their inbox, or they have a folder structure, in their email but it doesn’t really work for them. 

We spend a lot of time in our emails, or we can do, and it’s very frustrating, time-consuming and there’s better ways to do it. So here are the top five tips for organising your email. 

Tip One : Set A Structure

The first thing is, having a really, really simple structure, and having a structure that works for you. 

Use a thing called fact categories. 

So they’re the big categories that you’ll have at the top. 

So for me, with my work, I have a category which is ‘Customers’, I have another category which is ‘Suppliers’, and they’re my big categories, and underneath them go little folders with all the customers in, and little folders with all the suppliers in. 

That’s just an example. 

So having your structure sorted out so that everything has a home, because that’s one of the keys; Everything needs to have a home. 

So make sure you get your structure sorted out first. 

Tip Two : Use Favourites

The next thing is using ‘Favourites’ 

So have your favourites at the top, and put the things you use most at the top. 

For me that’s my inbox and my sent items. 

They’re the places I look most often. 

It may be different for you, but use the favourites. 

And another crucial thing that my coach taught me, which is using ‘To Do’ folders. 

Instead of using your inbox as the place where everything gets stored, a lot of people use it as their ‘to-do list’. They mark things as ‘unread’ and maybe leave them there, and then and then deal with them when they get to them. 

But what we actually do, is we spend lots of time scrolling through that inbox, and it can get quite big and quite unwieldy. 

So actually if you open an email and then you realise that it’s maybe something that you want to read later on, if you move that straight to a folder called ‘Read’, then there’s a place where you know that all that stuff in there is ‘to read’. 

This also can save time, because if you open that, and say I want to read it, but then close it and leave it in same place come back to it two days later, and you have to open it again to decide what you’re going to do with it. So if you actually pop it straight into a folder where you know what you’re going to do with it, then it’s done, it’s dealt with, and you know what they actually need take on. 

I have folders called Read’

I have another folder called ‘Action’

I have a folder called ‘Finances’ ; 

Where all my end-of-month finances go, and then I deal with them at the end of the month.

So to use that structure, you know, there’s ‘to do’ folders for whatever you need to do with the emails when they come in. 

Tip Three : File everything; Even your sent items

A lot of people ignore their sent items. 

They will file and deal with all the stuff that comes in, but not the stuff they send out. For me, some of the stuff I send out can be more important than the stuff that comes in. 

It can be confirmations to customers about what’s happening, when I’m visiting them, you know, quotes that I send them, that kind of thing. 

So filing your sent items as well is the third thing, and that’s really, really crucial! 

Tip Four : Set Rules 

A lot of emails have rules set up, so if you have emails coming in that you maybe don’t need to look at, or you don’t… you work for a specific client only half a day a week, and you don’t need to look at the emails until that time. Then you can set rules so that they all go into a specific folder, and then you can access them at another time, so you don’t need to be looking at them all the time. 

Use the technology;
The technology is amazing. 

If you don’t know how to do anything, just Google it. You’ll soon find out, but make sure…

Tip Five : Take Time To Do It 

This is the fifth and most important thing really; 

That you take the time to do it, 

You know, in organising it, and structuring it, and putting things in places, you don’t need to diarise your time, to do the ‘to-do’ folder stuff so diarise some time to read things. 

Diarise the time to action things.

They’re not going to be in front of your face so you’re going to have to find a system to make that work for you, and also at time to file all the stuff that needs filing, in the folders, and all that sort of stuff. 

it’s not a two minute job, but once you start getting into it, and doing it this way, it can save a lot of time in the long run. 

I know this from my experience, because my structure was, it was okay, but it wasn’t that good. And the using of the ‘to do’ folder has has really, really changed how I work with my email now. It’s not this big raft of stuff in my inbox, that I’m just kind of beating myself up about all the time. I know exactly what we’ve got to do with it, and if I arrived for an appointment 10 minutes early, I’ll just pop him into my read folder and read a couple of the things in there, and I know exactly where everything is, and what I’ve got to do with it. 

So if you need any more help with these, I run email organisation workshops, where we spend an hour and a half, and we actually do this together. 

You will be organising your own email while we’re live on the call. 

It’s not about telling you what to do, it’s about doing it with you. 

It’s about giving you the pointers, so that you know how to do a set of the folders, how to create the great sub folders, and how to create the rules. 

Doing that all with you LIVE at the time. 

Please just have a look on Eventbrite for those links, and on my website as well. There’s a tab on my website called ‘Workshops’, so please look on there, and hopefully I can help you out. 

Don’t be afraid of it; 

Get on with it; 

Do it!

it will save you hours in your day, and I worked out the other day if you charge yourself out for £30 an hour, and it takes 10 minutes a day, over a year that’s £1,300! 

That’s how much you can save by just saving 10 minutes a day, so it’s worth doing it. 

Take care

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