Managing your email folders
Recently I visited a new client to work with her on business administration, and one area which I noticed pretty quickly was the number of emails in her inbox – over 5,000. This may be a lot to some people, or just scratching the surface for others – but I just wanted to crack on and get it down to zero!
If you also find it overwhelming to have so many emails to deal with, and struggle to know what you’ve dealt with and what still needs actioning, then creating email folders is a quick and easily maintainable way forwards.
Why create email folders?
For one, I find that an empty inbox is really therapeutic. Treat your inbox as you would your in-tray and aim for it to be either empty at the end of the day, or only to contain the emails that you still need to action.
Filing your emails in folders is no different to filing documents in your office. They need to be saved in locations which are easy to find, and logical.
Often people tell me that they don’t file their emails, as they worry they won’t be able to find what they are looking for if they do. There’s really no need to worry about this as all email systems I have ever used have a great search facility so no matter which folder it goes in, you WILL be able to find it again!
“Treat your inbox as you would your in-tray”
Where do I start in deciding what folders I need?
This all depends on what you use your email for, and what job you do. You need to find a system that works for you, so here’s some ideas to get you started:
- Date order Create folders for each year, and then each month within that. TIP – if you put 01 infront of January (for the first month) and 02 for February, it will list them in order;
- By sender You may find it easier to save by sender, if this is the case then create folders for each letter of the alphabet, or groups of letters;
- By project or client This is useful if you have a lot of projects running at once and you can keep everything together. It also makes it easy to archive the emails when the project is completed;
- By topic It may make more sense to you to have all your marketing related topics in one folder and finance in another, for example;
- A combination of the above They are your emails, so play around and find a system that works for you.
Which system do you use?
- If you use Google – Google actually uses ‘labels’ rather than folders, so you can actually save an email in more than one place. Here’s how
- If you use Outlook, you may find this helpful
- On a Mac – here’s how to get started
I’m too busy to go through my emails and create folders!
Then the next best thing is to get someone else to do it. As Virtual Assistants we work remotely, so can log into your email client, create the folders that you want and help you to have that clean inbox you’ve always wanted. Please do get in touch if this is something you need help with.
Running a business is a full time job, so make your systems work for you and not the other way around.
Want more tips on managing your emails? Monica Seeley has some great ideas
How do you manage your emails? How many are in your inbox right now?
I’d love to hear your email tips and horror stories!
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