#contessahacks: How to Get Your Inbox to Zero Each Day
Work + Life Balance

#contessahacks: How to Get Your Inbox to Zero Each Day

by Grace Kim
Photos Anda Marie | October 06, 2015

EMAIL IS ESSENTIAL, BUT THE MOUNTING PILE OF UNREAD MESSAGES CAN WEIGH YOU DOWN. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE TRICKS TO ORGANIZE THE MESS AND IMPROVE YOUR OVERALL COMMUNICATION. 

Email is a double-edged sword. It's an amazing way to connect with people inside and outside of the office, and it's an indispensable tool for the workplace. At the same time, however, just seeing the number of unread emails tick upwards and upwards throughout the day is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed and stressed out.

For me, the state of my inbox is a good representation of what my life looks like that day. If it's completely empty, it means I'm productive and getting everything done on my to-do list. If it's in the upper double digits, it means that I no longer care about anything and am binge-watching Netflix. If it's somewhere between five to fifteen unread emails, it's either the weekend or I'm keeping the emails unread as reminders.

Recently, there was a brief time where I let myself go and let my inbox just overflow with emails. After spending two days doing some serious damage control, I made a vow to never let that happen again.

I've found some effective ways to clear my email inbox and keep it organized without pulling my hair out or wasting hours of time and productivity. Here are a few of my secrets.

Email is a double-edged sword. It's a way to connect with people inside and outside of the office, but seeing the number of unread emails tick upwards is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed.

SET DESIGNATED TIMES ON WHEN YOU REALLY CHECK YOUR EMAIL

Emails matter in the workplace, so it's necessary to check in often throughout the day. {Click to Tweet} I put aside about 30 minutes every morning and evening cleaning out my email. These are the designated times I use to read messages thoroughly, file them in the appropriate folders, and send out my own emails. After these set times, I only check and respond when I need to for work or I let it go and just sleep.

UNSUBSCRIBE

Take a look at the emails that you end up deleting without even opening. These are the emails you need to immediately unsubscribe from. The next time you receive one of these emails, promptly open it, scroll to the bottom, and click unsubscribe. This should reduce your inbox number dramatically. Afterwards, keep an eye for emails you tend to skim, like website newsletters, and make a promise to read these thoroughly in the future. If you find yourself hesitating on whether or not you’ll do that, this will help you decide that these emails also need to be deleted.

OPT FOR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS RATHER THAN DAILY

Google Alerts are great, but I can't stand reading them daily. That's too many articles for me to read, and I have the tendency to let them build up and then delete them when it gets to be too much. Thankfully, Google Alerts has the option to send newsletters weekly, and even better, they combine all my alerts in one email! You want to use this for emails that you do tend to read thoroughly, but may not be of the utmost priority, like blogs you follow.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

There are too many websites and articles in today’s digital world. Thankfully, not everything has to go to your inbox. Pick and choose the websites you actually really like to read on a daily basis or a weekly basis and everything else goes to social media. {Click to Tweet} I like following websites on Facebook, Twitter, and Bloglovin. My inbox is pretty calm, but I get to still see all the updates on all of my favorite websites and blogs without unnecessary notifications or the pressure to immediately read everything.

Not everything has to go to your inbox. Pick and choose the websites you actually really like to read on a daily basis or a weekly basis and everything else goes to social media.

MAKE AN ASAP FOLDER

Only use this option when it calls for desperate measures; otherwise, this will become a bad habit, and you'll end up never really clearing out your inbox. Sometimes, things get too busy, and you just don't have time. Make a folder named “To Read” or “ASAP” that calls for urgency. File all unread emails in this folder or mark all the emails as read and file in this folder. Either way, this folder will be a reminder to come back to these emails when you will actually have the time.

A happy mind means having a clear inbox, and it's one less thing to stress about in your busy everyday life!

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What are some tips you use to keep your email inbox clean?