Why An Inbox Organization Strategy Will Ease Your Workday
Email is an amazing communication tool that helps us run our businesses smoothly. While it carries many benefits, managing email can also seem endless. Without a proper email system, small business owners can find themselves drowning in a bottomless inbox. What was once an efficient tool turns into a daily obstacle. If you feel that way, you’ve found the right blog post!
At VaVa Virtual, we’re experts at email organization. We’ve helped countless entrepreneurs streamline their communication and ease their workdays. With some preparation, you’ll be able to achieve an inbox system that works for you, too.
Benefits of an Organized Inbox
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s review the benefits of an organized inbox so you’re motivated to work toward this goal.
Say goodbye to your email frustration. With an organized inbox, you won’t lose emails or email threads. You’ll save time searching because your conversations will be stored in a convenient way for you. You’ll prevent yourself from forgetting emails, neglecting to respond to important messages, and weeding through all that junk mail that you receive each week.
Once you create an organizational system, everything in your inbox will have its own place and will likely be stored automatically. Your system will be sustainable with minimal upkeep needed. Make sure to schedule regular maintenance to avoid getting overwhelmed.
Your digital communications will be better. Without a seemingly insurmountable onslaught of messages, you’ll have the time to take a breath and respond thoughtfully to correspondence. Not only will your work be streamlined, but you will always be prepared to reply and reply faster. You’ll save time and energy by sorting emails that need responses while using templates to guide your conversations.
How to Create an Inbox Organizational System
The best way to begin organizing your inbox is to start fresh and clean. This step can take some time, but it will make the overall process much smoother. Delete all the emails that you don’t need. Unsubscribe from any emails lists that aren’t serving you. Archive emails that you need to keep, but don’t need in your immediate inbox. The messages that remain will be sorted in the next step.
Depending on which email provider you use, you will have a variety of organizational tools at your disposal. Think through the best way to structure your inbox. What are the broadest categories they can be started into? Define those areas, and then you can get more specific (if you want) from there. It might make sense to organize by client, or you might separate your messages based on client, vendor, and internal communications. You could also organize based on topic or project. Your emails are like files and folders stored on a computer. There’s no limit to how detailed or simplified you can be. Create folders and/or labels to sort the emails currently in your inbox and those that will arrive in the future.
Another consideration is urgency and priority. It will help you to have a plan for indicating which emails need to be dealt with immediately, which ones can be put off for a while, and which ones require no action or response. Flags and stars can help with this process. Another option is to leave important emails unread and less important emails read. These strategies will allow you to understand your email load at a glance. You can also consider creating folders for emails that need to be answered today and those that are okay to let go until the weekend.
Finally, it’s time to automate. Create rules to sort incoming emails automatically. This works by selecting criteria for incoming emails (like email address or words in a subject line) and then an action for your email platform to perform. For example, a rule might add a label to all messages from a certain email address and mark them as read. Labels can be added to emails going directly into your inbox. Your less important emails can be sent directly to folders and skip your inbox altogether. Your email platform will signify which folders have unread emails in them, but they won’t be cluttering your inbox and making it difficult to find what you need.
You can get really creative with how you set up your organizational system! Just make sure the system you choose will realistically work for you. And if you find out it doesn’t, keep refining.
Maintaining Your System
Once you have a system set up, maintenance should be relatively painless. We recommend adding inbox management to your schedule. Block out time for this daily. Some choose to deal with their email twice a day – first thing in the morning and just before finishing work for the day. Others have a single time block reserved in the afternoon. However you wish to add email organization to your schedule, it will make you more efficient than piecemealing it throughout the day.
Outside of daily management, overall maintenance will likely be needed to continue refining your organizational system. This can be a monthly or bi-monthly chore. Or you can work at it as issues arise. If you’re finding that emails are not getting caught by filters or are being sorted incorrectly, make changes to correct this. If you’re finding that the organizational system you originally implemented no longer works for you, make changes to it. As more unneeded subscription emails come in, unsubscribe. It will be an ongoing process, but the results are worth it!
Now that you have the steps, you can get your inbox organized and save yourself a lot of valuable time. This will help you step up your communications game and keep other areas of your business organized as well.
If your inbox still seems like a hurdle that you don’t have the time or energy to handle, we can step in. Our Virtual Assistants are experts, and they can get you up and running in no time.
Schedule a free consultation to find out how a Virtual Assistant can benefit your business!
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