how to manage your inbox

The distraction of an overflowing letterbox – of the real or virtual variety – can create all sorts of mental chaos. Over the past year I’ve managed to cull the amount of paper that lands in the bottle green box at the end of the driveway but as a result, my inbox has been at capacity for far too long.

Emails are a definite distraction and because of the sheer amount that I receive each day I need to be organised otherwise chaos ensues. My desire to start the New Year in a relatively organised manner has me looking at ways I can simplify everyday tasks. I like to think of organising the virtual as nesting for the modern day mother.I’ve been quite strict with the way I’ve gone about emailing over the past few months, ensuring I spend as little time as possible sorting the mail and more time replying to emails and getting work done. Here’s my tips for maintaining an inbox that welcomes you and never overwhelms:

– some people have two email addresses – one for important, work related matter and the other for subscriptions etc. Me? I prefer to keep things simple and have them all in one place.
– read and file/delete as soon as you get the chance. Don’t ever think that “I’ll get back to it soon” is a good mindset because when you do find the time you can guarantee that you’ll have 10, 15, 30 more emails to see to. This method ensures that there’s only ever 10 or so emails in my inbox – pleasing.

– create designated folders so your inbox stays clear of clutter. As soon as I read an email I either delete it or file it in its appropriate folder. I have a folder for the magazine I’m currently working on, one for tax receipts, one for bills, one for blog and advertising enquiries and, at the very top of the list, a to-do folder – for emails that need my attention within the next week or so.- every time an email/newsletter that you subscribe to arrives, consider whether you enjoy reading it. It’s a little like the stuff in your home – if it doesn’t “spark joy” as Marie Kondo affectionately says, then is it worth keeping?

– if your inbox is overflowing and there’s several thousand emails that have been read but not deleted/filed my advice is to be ruthless. Do a google search and find out the quickest and easiest way to delete your emails in one go. And then do it – without procrastinating. It’s incredibly rewarding.


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  • Becs :: Think Big. Live Simply

    Have you ever tried 'Unroll Me' Jodi? It organises email subscriptions into one place, and you can receive a single email each day with them all in it – I found this almost instantly cleaned up my inbox from automated emails, and I find the single email (with preview of each of the individual emails inside) so easy to scan, click through or delete.

    • Jodi

      I hadn't heard about it! But thanks so much for sharing – genius! x

  • milliontinylittlethings

    I get incredibly anxious when emails build up, I try to clear them as soon as I can. Annoyingly though, if I see an email notification I feel I have to address it immediately, I just hate that little numbered icon hovering on my screen!

  • Justine

    I was going to mention Unroll Me too. It's been helpful not only to organize my subscriptions but to help me unsubscribe quickly as well. There's a chapter in the "Minimalist Parenting" book that I refer to often; she said if you aren't going to reply today, you're probably never going to reply, and you should just learn to let some messages go. I don't know why that was so revelatory to me, but I guess I was carrying around guilt about replying to everything, and now, as you said, I am a ruthless editor. I am an email curator, and only the best and most exciting messages make it through my filter now.

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