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How to Make Your Inbox Tidy and Keep it that Way

Updated: Apr 20

We’ve all experienced that feeling. Opening our email inbox and not only seeing the mountain of emails we have to get through but staring at the old ones we wish we could get rid of.

Remember when you first opened that email account? Didn’t it feel lovely staring at a fresh, blank page? We just want to have that same feeling again, but it often feels impossible, as though there’s no time to do the work to get our inbox back to that place.

In fact, it’s not that difficult and it’s something you can work on every day during the time you already spend opening emails. This is my step-by-step guide to get your inbox back to fresh and tidy.

1. Every day, when you open your emails, open 5 messages that you have already previously read. The idea is to do this every day until you’ve been through all of them and eventually, they will no longer reside in your inbox. I say 5 to make it manageable and achievable but you can make it more or less.

2. When you open new email, decide right away what you are going to do with them. If the email is junk, don’t just delete it, unsubscribe from it. It only takes a few seconds. The unsubscribe option will either be at the top of the email or in the footer of the email. You will need to do this too with the old emails you’re going to open.

3. If you have an email that can be deleted, delete it. Don’t keep it “just in case”. It’s often very handy to keep emails so that you can go back to them as a reference point, but once you start opening older emails that you have not needed for some time, you need to let go of them and put them in the bin.

4. If for any reason you do need to keep hold of emails, use your server’s labelling system. For example, in Gmail, you can create labels for emails. Let’s say, it’s a client that has emailed you. Simply use their name as a label and then whilst in the email, click on the little x in the Inbox label to remove it from your inbox. You will still have the email in its own little folder but removed from your inbox.

That’s it. That’s all you need to do to get your way back to a tidy inbox. Hope it helps!

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