Mailboxes may be virtual but they are as much of a personal space as any other physical space, including your room or your desk. A messy desk adds a lot of unwanted noise and can make it hard to focus. The same goes for a messy mailbox. Fortunately, no matter what service you’re using, whether it’s webmail like Gmail or Yahoo or a mail client like Outlook or Thunderbird, there are some good processing and organizing features offered. And in any case, becoming more efficient is always great.
We’ve gathered a few tips to help you better organize and take advantage of your mailbox; keep your virtual space clean:)
1. Too Many Folders? DeFolder!
Folder it, label it, but don’t overdo it. Too many folders including different ultra specific topics means you have to work hard sorting emails every day. Don’t waste energy deciding where this email should go, sometimes having just 3 folders can be enough and you can name them according to urgency: Follow Up- for those emails you’ve just responded to, Hold- emails that require more work before replying, and of course Completed/Archive- for everything you’re done with.
2. Love them Filters
Not everything has to reach your inbox. If you’re getting social network notifications, they are the first thing to go through a filter and skip the inbox, along with Google alerts. Open these folders and go through them at your convenient time. You can set up filters by a variety of indicators including keywords, subject or sender.
3. Yes, I’m Sure I Want to Unsubscribe
Some services let you do it in 2-3 clicks. Other services, make you fill a bunch of check-boxes to indicate the terms of your unsubscribing. No more special unique deals, “yes I’m sure I don’t want incredible coupons”; no, no more forum notifications and newsletters…. “So, wait, am I finally unsubscribed now?”
Best to set a time, collect all unwanted subscriptions and unsubscribe at once. This way you can be sure to have the patience to follow the procedures through and free your mailbox of some clutter.
4. Skip the Inbox- Go to Trash
Distracting or unwanted messages have no room in your inbox. If unsubscribing doesn’t work, hey, there’s always the junk folder. You can review the contents of this folder every once in a while to ensure that no legitimate messages have been sent there.
5. Give Clear and Organized Subject Lines
It will help your email recipients better organize their emails as well. This way when you need a particular piece of information from an email you’ll be able to get to it easily. Be as specific as you like or just name the email after the event it discusses: Digital Conference Speakers 8/6/2011. This makes emails much more easy to search and organize.
6. Ok, email Time.
Going over emails is a task, and a very important one. Since this is the age of multitasking, most of us go through our emails at least several times a day, no matter what we’re in the middle of. However, it’s good to schedule an uninterrupted time to process and organize all the emails and give more attention to emails that require it. If you’re not doing emails at a specific time you may find yourself going over them all the time…
7. Get WiseStamp
WiseStamp is a hot app everyone is talking about. Generally, it enables you to easily adjust your email signatures with your personal social profiles and allows you to add to each outgoing email dynamic content such as your latest eBay item, recent blog post, your latest tweet or a cause you’re promoting. It’s easier to set than the classuc signature, and much more customizable. Give your emails a personal, colorful touch.
8. Canned Responses
Some messages we type out over and over again. For example, if you’re a freelancer, you may send your new clients an initial email response to let them know that you’ll get back to them as soon as you can. Canned responses are a good way to quickly view and respond to emails without having to retype or copy and paste from other messages.
9. Say it on Twitter/Facebook/Google Plus
Now that we are all (or most of us) socially connected, our favorite networks can take some of the quick messaging away from emails. This is the way it goes these days and if you’re not feeling it, you need to give Twitter another try. With 140 characters or less, you can quickly tweet your message and save yourself the trouble of writing another email.
10. And Lastly, Check Your email on Your Smartphone
You’re on the bus? Waiting to meet a friend? No better time to tap into your smartphone and sort out some messages. Deleting what you don’t need there will give the inbox a quick cleanup and make the job easier later.