Your Ultimate Guide to Organize Email Inbox Like a Pro

January 30, 2017 - 16 minutes read

As we all know, emails are part of everyone’s lives nowadays. Many people make it work for them in a flawless way when they organize email inbox.

However, many others struggle and keep struggling every single day by being unable to keep it organized and by consequence, can’t keep other aspect of their lives organized as well. Organize email inbox might sound simple at first, but sometimes it just isn’t possible because of another bad habits, that we’re going to talk about later.

Also, if you stick to good and simple solutions, your inbox will tend to get more and more organized as you use it.

To kick it off, let’s understand how emails work and how its organization is meant to work as they were coded:

How does email organization work

Emails have appeared on the internet as a online version of mailboxes. They became very popular from the begging of the internet as a rich form of interaction – in that time -, when no other possible rich interaction existed.

But when you think about that, even now with instant messaging and social medias, emails are still very popular. Many other solutions have come and gone, but email has remained as a solid solution that integrates other solutions, acting like a digital hub for online identity.

As a cultural part of the internet experience, emails have a strong reputation and it doesn’t seem to be fading, just evolving.

As you can see in the following image, this is the main structure of a mailbox (in this case, Gmail’s). In red, you see there are a few advertisements, which are part of the browser experience – and another way Google is able to make money.

Structure

On the left, there is a list with many options, such as Inbox, Starred, Important, Sent, Drafts and Trash. Every single one of them is a folder which keeps emails organized inside.

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  • Inbox – All your new messages, read or unread, which you still haven’t moved to another folder;
  • Starred – Messages that are somehow very important to you, which you can “Save” to read later manually;
  • Important – On the other side, this folder puts altogether automatically emails that seem to me important – it learns with time what is really important to you, though;
  • Sent – Messages you have sent to other people;
  • Draft – Messages you started to write, but are still unfinished, so you can go back on them later and finish them.
  • Trash – Your deleted messages will be here.

This is the standard structured provided by Gmail when it comes to Organize Email Inbox. However, you can go further and propose your own organization, which can go even further on that.

Labels

Many people find it easier to have their emails organized when they add labels to it. On Gmail, it works very simply, as it just adds colors to messages.

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By doing it, Google Gmail makes your messages instantly recognizable (as colors are simple to understand). To do so, simply follow these steps:

  1. Open Inbox.
  2. Open or choose an email that you want to add to a new label.
  3. In the top right corner of the email, click More.
  4. Click Create new.
  5. Type a name for your label.
  6. Click Save. The email will be moved to that label and the label will show up in the list of labels next time you go to the Menu.

Create folders

Although many people still think these are two separate things, folders and labels work together in order to organize your email. As you create a new label, Gmail automatically adds it as a new folder.

If later on you want to add an email – which may be or may be not tagged with a label -, to a folder, you can just drag and drop it there. Simple as that, isn’t it cool?
organize-email-inbox

Caution before Action

You already have your list of people that you’ll avoid messages. When you simply see their name as sender on your inbox, you automatically read the preview and think three of four times before opening. Sometimes you must go straight for it and finishing your pain once for all. It really boosts your confidence and makes your day more productive.

On the other hand, if you don’t know the sender, or the message doesn’t sound trusting, just delete it. If it was really important, the sender will find a way to get to you. Just don’t waste your time by answering unimportant emails and you’ll see yourself working good again. This is crucial when you want to organize email inbox.

Schedule a specific time to answer emails

Let’s face it, guys, it’s 2017 and people still waste their days (months and lives) by spending time focusing only on their email inboxes.

Emails are no longer the #1 important and urgent tool. If someone needs you right away, they will probably call you, or send a text message.

What productive people have found is that scheduling a specific time (or times) of the day to answer emails makes free time to other tasks that are truly relevant. By doing so, you avoid procrastinating and discover how far you can go – yes, just with this simple change in your life.

So what are you waiting for? Just keep yourself far from the email website (or application) and go get done what is really important to you, to your business and, most importantly, to your customers.

Tip:You can also block gmail website in your browser during specific amounts of time in order to being really unable to open the website and being unproductive.

Organize email inbox by unsubscribing like a pro

Nowadays, with inbound marketing, it is very probable that for every content you wanted online you had to subscribe for an email list, which sends you messages from time to time.

It might seem harmless in the beginning, but after you start receiving tens, hundreds, or even thousands of mail marketing every day, you might want to think again on how to organize email inbox.

One of the solutions to do so is to start unsubscribing form these lists. Although it might seem difficult in the beginning, there are many solutions that can truly help you get there simply.

One famous solution, which has been working great for me is Unroll.me. It maps which lists my email is in and lists them, so you can visually understand how many lists you have opted in and you can go through them one by one if you wish to. The solution also allows you to unsubscribe from all of your lists with a single click.

By receiving less emails, you start to filter what is really relevant to you and take away what you don’t have to deal in your busy life.

Inbox Zero

When you mustn’t worry about your inbox at all, you start to get a feeling that every single thing you had to do is now done. But you should also be cautious, because this feeling is often tricky and still takes your productivity away.

Although people still believe in the saying “out of sight, out of mind”, if you haven’t finished your tasks with the emails, you find it really difficult to take it out of your mind all your anxiety, which is a completely awful feeling to have in your mind when you’re trying to declutter your life. Your inbox will remain full inside your mind.

In order to take action on that, you must get rid of unimportant messages and let go of emails you won’t be seeing again. To do so, you should also take the next step on that task, which can be in many different ways. Many specialists say you should start with smaller and less time consuming actions, and then go to the big fishes.

At the same time, other people say you should begin with the biggest tasks first. So after you finish it, every other task will seem smaller and easier to solve. The truth is everyone will find some way easier. You must try and then realize which one works the best for you, and then use it to organize email inbox.

This “watered down” concept is still part of many people’s mindsets when they think about inbox zero. Gmail, as one of the biggest email servers in the world, provides tools that have tried to change users experience by simplifying interfaces and tools. One good example of it is Google Inbox, a new version of Gmail, available to all user, as you can see by clicking in here.

Don’t be afraid to archive or delete emails

I have met many people in many different backgrounds which are simply afraid to delete messages. Although some really important information may be in your email, you can delegate it to another solutions, such asL

  • Saving important files in your computer;
  • Saving these files on a cloud based application;
  • Archiving emails that might be useful in the future – and which could be found with a simple search;
  • Printing important files.

The solutions are numerous, but you are the one that should decide what to do with what really matters to you.

Archiving instead of deleting emails have become more popular on the latest years. People have found it more useful when it comes to organize email inbox, or even combining it with another action, that is dividing important files into specific folders.

Personal x Work Emails

If you really want to organize email inbox, you must be aware that work and personal life must be two different parts of your routine. Beyond just having an organized email inbox is having good quality in life. One thing end up depending on another, so you must treat different aspects of your life simply differently.

When you’re at home, avoid opening your work email. And the opposite is also valid. Many people end up working less by taking care of personal matters when they’re at work. Divide your life in order to give the best of yourself in both situations.

To sum up…

Being able to organize email inbox is part of something bigger, which is organizing your life and decluttering it. When you find the right balance between them, you bring yourself one step closer to the new you that you were looking for.

So, in order to make it easier for you to remember, here are the points that we have discussed in this post.

  • What does organize email inbox really mean;
  • How the structure of emails work and how to understand it – with every folder that “comer from the standard version”;
  • How to create labels for your email and how to organize them seamlessly;
  • Which are the similarities and differences between email labels and email folders;
  • How you can save up your time by scheduling specific amounts of time to use your email so you don’t really have to spend your whole day in front of your inbox;
  • Also how unsubscribing can improve your productivity by saving time;
  • Inbox zero is achievable if you want to live a more decluttered life;
  • You don’t have to save all your emails and be afraid of deleting them;
  • In order to organize your life, you should differentiate your personal email from your work email.

So, which of the tips did you think are most valuable to your company? Please let us know in the comments.

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