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

Decluttering With Kids – Entertaining Them

As part of my series on decluttering with kids I want to talk about getting them out of the way.

‘Sorry kids you know you’re great but; Sometimes we’ve just got to get on with stuff!’

If you can;

  1. Get them to a family member 
  2. Get them to go out for the day
  3. Get them to go for a playdate with a friend. 

This is a great way, where you and other parents can help each other out.

If maybe they go to one parent one weekend, another parent the next weekend, something like that, then you can both get on with the things….But you’re used to doing this as parents, this is what you do! Helping each other out, but prioritise it for decluttering as well, because the amount of time it can actually save you in the long run is huge. 

The little bits every day, of those things that annoy you. If you can get on top of them, then then it can make a massive difference to how you are, and how you are with your kids. 

So the other thing is just maybe stick them in front of a really good DVD… DVD?

Netflix!

I’m so old… I nearly said VIDEO! 

But get them to do something else for a bit, so that you can get on with it. 

I know that’s not ideal, and we don’t like to do that maybe all the time, but sometimes we do just need to get on with the stuff, and think about the long term gain. 

If you can get places that are really annoying you, organised, how much knock-on effect will that have on the rest of your life? And on how you are with your kids as well. 

If everyday, when you’re making them pack lunches, or trying to organise tea, or whatever you’re battling with the kitchen, that isn’t laid out well, then you can actually just end up losing your rag. and getting really angry and taking it out on the kids. 

If you can take that extra time, just to sort it out, then the time in the long run will be better spent. You will be in a better mood and you will feel better, and that will pass on to the kids as well. 

So while it’s difficult to sometimes prioritise that, and maybe feel like you should be doing other things, it is a really important thing to prioritise. 

So help each other out. 

Help other friends out. 

Share the kids around if you can, so that you’ve got some time to get on with it. 

Even get somebody else round, with other kids, so that they can keep themselves occupied. And then you pair can help each other together. 

Then do that at each other’s houses. 

These are great ways to do it, but try and get them out the way, so you can get on with it. 

In the long run they will benefit. 

So don’t be afraid! 

Decluttering With Kids – Taking Ownership

As part of my series on decluttering with kids, why not get them to take ownership? 

I worked with a family and they’ve got three kids and the girls were five and seven and a little boy. When I arrived they’d got toys everywhere, there was loads and loads of stuff, and they were saying things like “I’m bored”. They couldn’t really see the woods for the trees. So we needed to thin out with the items, we needed to get rid of some of this stuff, because they were just too overwhelmed with everything that was there. 

One of the tricks that we used was getting the children to take real ownership of the actual items, and where they were gonna live as well. We’d got some storage units and what we did was we got them to make the labels for those storage units. 

Now if I had labeled them, it probably would have been superheroes or trains or whatever as that category. But one of the important things about people and how they think about things is trying to get them to put on that label, the closest thing that they think about when they think about that item. 

So it might be superheroes and it might be a picture of a unicorn, or it might be a rainbow and that might mean something to them. It’s the thing that gets them to that category the fastest. 

That’s not necessarily a logical thing. 

It’s a really important part of it because if they then see that, they identify straight away with that. It’s not that it’s necessarily got the right name on it or anything like that. But it means something to them. 

In these days of people communicating in all sorts of different ways and people struggling with communication, maybe struggling with words, with dyslexia things like that then pictures can be really really useful. 

So getting the kids to get creative and draw the pictures for what was going to go into that box, was not only a great thing to get them involved in it, but also when they’re putting it away they know exactly where it’s going to go because they’ve made the decision about what is on the outside of that box. 

Getting them to do it might be a different matter, but it gives you a way for them to kind of own what they’re doing and get involved in it as well. And it is their choice really – “okay what are you gonna put on the box where we have your dolls?” They might draw a big pink heart, and that might be the thing that means something to them. 

So getting them to take that ownership, getting them to hang their clothes where they want them. “Okay, where do you want that in your wardrobe?” And they might have all their fairy costumes in the middle and everything else squished to the outside, but then it’s them getting involved, it’s them taking ownership. 

Really get them to think about how they want to do it and not just do it the way we want to. 

Decluttering With Kids – Getting Your Kids Involved

As part of my series on decluttering with kids, I want to talk about getting them involved. 

If they’re around and you can’t have the time without them, then why not teach them how to declutter and organize? 

We’re always, well I certainly am, always learning a bit more about getting organised, a bit more about getting rid of stuff that I don’t need anymore, and these are great things that we can pass on to our kids. If we do everything around them and don’t get them involved in it, then how do they learn? 

A lot of people talk about decluttering and organising, especially about organising being a skill that don’t have. We’ve all heard things like “Oh I’m just not organised” But actually it’s a skill you can learn. 

While we’re learning this skill, then why not teach our kids it? 

Obviously it’s about being really safe with that, but there’s always ways that you can get your children involved in the process. I’ve worked with many people who’ve had kids around at the time, and we’ve needed to get on with stuff but let them get on with stuff as well. So we get them involved in the process. 

Simple things like if we’re doing the kitchen, we might give them the cutlery drawer. 

So we take all the sharp things out obviously, get them to put the knives in one bit and the forks in one bit and the spoons in another bit and get them to kind of put things together. This helps them realise what goes with what and which way up it goes. 

It’s like many of the toys that kids have, you’re just doing it in a different way. 

A lot of the stuff that we have, especially in kitchens, is really interactive, it feels fantastic and it’s all different. They’re learning about shapes and all that sort of stuff. 

Plastic tubs is another thing that comes to mind, getting them to try and find the right lid that goes with the right tub. In that then you can be figuring out which you’ve got that don’t have lids anymore, which ones you’ve got that stack up. They can help you with that as well you know. 

And all of a sudden you’ve organised a kitchen drawer and a cupboard or part of a cupboard, that’s been annoying you for ages and they’ve been involved in the process. They’ve also learned how you do it. 

And it’s about that, it’s about teaching them, but it’s about getting on with what we need to get on with which can be very very difficult. 

With clothes you can get them to try and pair up socks or shoes, or find the t-shirt that goes with the trousers. Maybe even try getting them involved in what they like and what they don’t like. 

One of the most important things about decluttering especially is about getting rid of things and talking to them about “Okay you do like that, but really does it fit anymore? It looks a bit worn, maybe it’s time for that to go?” And getting them to start making these choices is going to help them in later life. 

So get them involved where you can. 

Try and make it a bit of fun and hopefully that will help you out.

Decluttering With Kids – Helping Kids To Let Go

As part of my series on decluttering with kids, I want to talk about helping them to let go. 

It’s difficult enough for us as adults, we get these attachments to the things around us and we think we might need it. Or we have some sort of memory held within the thing, some sort of good time. We think things like “Oh, I can’t get rid of that because it was an amazing time”. 

We pass all these things down on to our kids and they pick up the same traits basically. 

So when we’re trying to declutter or to get them to declutter, we need to do the same things that we would with ourselves. 

One of the best tips I’ve got for working with people is instead of them focusing on what they’re losing, is to try and focus on what somebody else is gaining. 

With adults that’s about which charity shop is it going to? What cause means something to you? Getting you to really identify with the people that you’re giving the stuff to, which makes it so much easier to get rid of the things that you don’t need anymore. 

It’s exactly the same with kids. 

Kids are so loving and caring and giving you know they really want to help others but they can’t sort of see past “But that’s mine” you know. So getting them to connect with the people that they’re going to be giving this stuff to is really really important and it helps them to let go. 

Showing them pictures of people who maybe haven’t got as much, getting them to think about the people at school who haven’t got as much, or other people that they know. So anybody that they come across in their daily lives that they might be able to think “Actually I can give them my teddy because they haven’t got many Teddy’s”. 

Get them to really connect with that. 

Videos and things like that online can work, but obviously it’s not about traumatising your kids with horrendous photos, but trying to get them to sort of see how much they’ve got compared to what somebody else has got is a really really crucial way to help them. 

That just enables them to let go. 

I worked with a family and the three kids at beginning we’re like “that’s mine, that’s mine, that’s mine” and once we’d started talking about it, they were “oh, they can have this, they can have this, they could have this”. And they were so excited about giving it away to somebody else. 

Especially during times where there are so many people who’ve got less than what we have.

We can share that around. 

Get your kids to connect with it and that can really help. 

Good luck with that and let me know how you get on.