We've told you how to deal with cleaning out email in Detox your Inbox, but what about the email that you want to keep and refer to in the future? If you need to respond, save or act on an email, do you let it just linger aimlessly in your inbox? Here are some tips to keep those important emails organized so you can access and act upon them quickly and efficiently.
Set boundaries: Set a maximum number of emails that you'll allow in your inbox at the end of the day. It will help you to force out some extra emails that are only wasting your time sitting there.
File, file, file: Keeping files of current projects and important tasks is a must do for an organized inbox. You will be much more efficient when all related emails are dragged over and tucked into neatly organized files on the left side of your email program.
Copy, paste and save: Go to your email, copy out the content you want, paste it in a document and save it to your computer. Having a good digital filing system to access important information is key to staying organized.
Move them: Do you use a task management program? If so, cut and copy what you need out of the email and create tasks with the information. Schedule the tasks on your calendar to ensure they will get done.
Create rules: With many mail programs you can establish criteria for emails as they are received so they will go directly into a file. This is especially helpful when you're working on a project and you want all related emails together.
Unsubscribe: Of course, not getting unimportant emails in the first place is the best line of defense. Get in the habit of hitting the unsubscribe button before you delete so you won't continue to receive emails you don't want to waste time looking at.
Keeping up with email, whether it be filing, deleting or processing, is required to avoid drowning in digital disorganization. Remember that keeping it all organized is your key to finding it in the future!
Monica Friel is president and founder of Chaos To Order - the Chicago area's premiere organizing company since 1990. Friel manages and trains a staff of professional organizers who specialize in everything from household clutter to corporate chaos.