My email inbox is almost always empty. Weird. I know. I hear people talk about hundreds or even thousands of emails in their inbox. It just doesn’t work for me. To me, a cluttered inbox is as bad as a cluttered desk. I just can’t handle it.
If you’ve read Getting Organized in the Google Era, a full inbox is not a problem for some people. They just use the search feature to find what they need. To me, there is too much chance of missing something. And, seeing hundreds of emails overwhelms me and takes away from my productivity. Instead of using your inbox as a filing system, I suggest using a similar system for sorting email that you do for snail mail.
1. Unsubscribe or use unroll.me, a website that allows you to group eNewsletters and unsubscribe instantly if you choose.
2. Set up folders – put things in a logical place so you know where to find them.
3. Delete – Do you really need to keep it? If not, hit Delete!
4. Forward to your calendar – If it’s something that needs action, it needs a home on your calendar to get done. Move it there based on the due date.
5. Delegate – Ask someone else to handle it.
6. File it for reference if it’s something you’ll need later.
If the thought of doing this to the 3002 emails you currently have in your inbox is just too overwhelming, archive the entire inbox and start over with your new system. You still have the emails, you just don’t have them sucking the life out of you every day. 😉