10 Tips to Better Organize Inbox Email Messages
There are now entire books dedicated to the management of inbox email messages—a term that encompasses all email messages sitting in your inbox—and you can even attend expensive courses that teach you how to organize inbox and achieve Inbox Zero.
But just because some people have dedicated their entire lives to writing, talking, and lecturing about the management of inbox email messages doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot you can do right now to keep your inbox from getting cluttered and becoming unusable.
Listed below are 10 tips to better organize inbox email messages, and all of them are easy to implement and even easier to practice. As a bonus, we’ve also included Clean Email, which is a bulk email organizer whose main purpose is to group inbox emails into easy-to-review bundles.
1. Organize Inbox Regularly and Often
Nobody enjoys being disturbed when working on a difficult task. Alerts and notifications from incoming emails can quickly become annoying, which is why many people turn them off and completely ignore new emails. That’s actually a perfectly sensible thing to do, but it’s important to avoid ignoring unread emails for too long because they could quickly accumulate and become unmanageable.
The best approach is to schedule specific blocks of time throughout the day for reading and responding to emails. The blocks don’t need to be very long—10 or 15 minutes should be more than enough. What matters the most is that you don’t skip them unless there are no emails left to manage.
Avoid spending too much time on individual emails by instantly archiving emails that don’t require a response, responding to emails that do require it, and snoozing emails that you don’t know how to respond to at the moment.
2. Use Labels and Folders
Even if you have an unlimited inbox, you should always delete as many inbox email messages as possible. The fewer emails there are in your inbox, the easier it will be to find one specific email when you need it in the future. But what about the inbox emails you can’t delete? Simple: organize them using labels and folders.
Email users are sometimes not sure what the difference between labels and folders is, but it’s really quite simple. Folders are like drawers where you store emails so they don’t clutter your inbox. You can create many different folders and dedicate each to certain emails, such as work-related emails, social media notifications, or emails from friends and family. In fact, your inbox is basically just a parent folder with all my inbox emails.
Labels also allow you to organize emails by category, but they work more like post-it notes. When you assign labels to inbox emails, the emails don’t actually move anywhere. That’s why a single email can have many different labels but be present only in one folder.
There are many excellent free email services to choose from these days, so there’s no reason to use a single email account for both personal and work emails. Having one account dedicated solely to personal emails, a different account for work emails, and perhaps a third account for various online services makes it far easier to organize inbox email messages.
You should also consider using disposable email accounts when signing up for services you may not use in the future or filling out various online subscription forms to get access to additional content. Just make sure to never use a disposable email account for anything important.
4. Rule Them All
One thing is guaranteed when it comes to inbox email messages: new ones will just keep coming and coming. While you can’t stop all incoming inbox email messages, you can use rules to identify them by the sender, subject line, or recipient to automatically place them in the correct folder, assign them the right labels, or even delete them.
Email rules are also often called filters, and virtually all popular email services support them right out of the box. The only problem with email rules is that they can be somewhat difficult to set up, which is where Clean Email comes in with its one-click automation feature.
To learn more about Clean Email skip to the end of this article.
5. Archive Emails to Keep Your Inbox Clean
Today, email users have far more options how to organize email inbox than a decade ago. Most popular service providers and clients support archiving, which can help you keep your inbox clean by hiding away unimportant emails that you’re not yet ready to delete.
For example, let’s imagine you receive an assignment from your boss. Once you have completed the assignment, you could just delete the original message, but then you wouldn’t be able to read the message again in the future. By archiving the message, you can make it disappear from your inbox so that it doesn’t clutter it, and you can still come back to it later if you need to.
From time to time, you should clean up archived messages to free up storage space. You can do this manually, or you can configure an automatic inbox organizer such as Clean Email (more about it later in this article) to delete all messages older than 30 days.
6. Deep Clean Your Inbox from Time to Time
Truth be told, there’s no best way to organize an email inbox. If you want your inbox to be clutter-free, you need to practice the email organization tips described in this article on a regular basis, day after day. However, no matter how diligent you are, some unwanted or unnecessary emails are still guaranteed to end up in your inbox, and you should address them before they pile up too much and prevent you from being productive.
That’s why we recommend you deep clean your inbox every once in a while. You can think of inbox deep cleaning as spring cleaning for your digital life. The goal is to review your entire email organization strategy and check as many messages that haven’t been properly organized yet as possible. Since deep cleaning is a time-consuming activity, don’t do it in a hurry because you would just need to do it again soon.
7. Organize Emails Using Stars and Flags
Some mail clients let you star and flag emails, and you should take advantage of this feature as much as possible because it allows you to visually distinguish emails you want to look at later.
Here’s how to star a message in Gmail:
- Open your Gmail inbox.
- Go to the left of the message, then click the star icon.
To flag a message in Outlook.com:
- Log in to your Outlook inbox.
- Hover the mouse over the message you want to flag and click the flag icon.
Certain mail clients even let users set up multiple stars and flags, allowing them to differentiate emails based on several different criteria, such as low, medium, and high urgency.
8. Snooze Emails for Later
Sometimes, email messages arrive at the wrong time. When that happens, you have two options:
- Option A: You can stop what you’re doing and deal with the message.
- Option B: You can ignore the message and come back to it later.
If you choose Option A, you risk losing track of the original activity, which can cause your productivity to plummet. If you choose Option B, you risk making the sender wait for a response too long or forgetting about the message altogether.
Fortunately, there’s also Option C: snoozing the message for later. Snoozing is a great feature that temporarily removes the snoozed email from your inbox and makes it re-appear later, when you have time for it.
These days, email snoozing is supported by most clients and services, but you can also snooze emails using a third-party inbox organizer like Clean Email.
9. Use Canned Responses
Why waste valuable time writing the same responses over and over again, when you can save them and enter them with a simple click? Canned responses are especially useful if you’re using email for work-related purposes, but you can also use them to save time when asking about the status of your online purchases, just to give you one example.
10. Unsubscribe from Unwanted Emails
Unwanted email subscriptions are the main enemy of anyone who strives to achieve and maintain Inbox Zero. From newsletters to advertisements, they can quickly overwhelm your inbox and make it difficult to spot messages that are truly important. Marketers have even learned to write newsletters and advertisements as if they were coming from a friend or acquaintance, making it that much more difficult to spot them right away and get rid of them.
Fortunately, there are now email management tools that can unsubscribe you from unwanted newsletters to advertisements automatically, and Clean Email is among them.
Bonus: Use Clean Email
As we’ve already said in the beginning, Clean Email is a bulk email organizer whose purpose is to clean your inbox of emails you don’t need and keep it organized. It can sort all emails into easy-to-review bundles so that you can remove, move, label, or achieve hundreds or even thousands of emails with a single click.
Each time you perform an action in Clean Email, you can tell Clean Email to perform it again automatically in the future. For example, you can automatically archive and mark as read all social network notifications so that you don’t waste any time on them. No complicated set up is required, and all you need to do is tick one checkbox.
Additionally, Clean Email comes with the so-called Unsubscriber feature, which you can use to instantly unsubscribe from unwanted emails and block noisy marketers. To ensure you never miss anything important, Clean Email can send you a summary of its activity. If your email client doesn’t support snoozing, then you can use Clean Email’s Read Later feature to temporary postpone emails you’re not ready to deal with at the moment.
Clean Email works with all major email services, including Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Fastmail, AOL, iCloud, and others.
Keeping inbox email messages organized like a pro is easy with a bulk email organizer like Clean Email. When it takes just a couple of seconds to delete, move, or archive hundreds and thousands of emails, achieving and maintaining Inbox Zero becomes effortless.
How to Organize Inbox Email Messages - FAQs
How to organize emails effectively?
Organizing emails effectively requires a multi-pronged approach that combines a number of inbox organization tips and tricks. Even then, any email organization strategy will be effective only if exercised regularly and diligently, which is where many users fail.
What is the best advice for organizing email messages?
Many people who are interested in learning the best way to organize emails have never heard about inbox organizers like Clean Email, which can clean up a messy inbox in a matter of minutes. As such, the best advice for organizing email messages is to use a bulk mail organizer to save time and achieve Inbox Zero without much effort.
How do I organize my work email folders?
It’s a good idea to label all work-related emails accordingly and, if possible, keep them in separate folders. You can then organize these folders manually or use a bulk email organizer to quickly and efficiently remove emails from certain senders, archive old messages, and more.
How does Clean Email app organize inbox email messages?
Clean Email is a capable inbox organizer with multiple features that you can use to clean your inbox with a few simple clicks. The app boasts the ability to automatically group relevant messages together, allowing its users to manage them in bulk with a simple click. It can also automatically clean emails matching certain rules to automate repetitive email management tasks, block unwanted senders, unsubscribe newsletters, and much more.
How to organize your emails using a mobile device?
With a mobile device, you can easily organize messages as they arrive, which is far more efficient than allowing them to pile up in your inbox. We recommend you set up email notifications on your mobile device so that you never miss an important message. Just remember to turn them off when you need to focus or have a meeting coming up.