I am sure you are like me and have several email accounts and lots of subscriptions that you subscribe to and it can often get overwhelming. So, as a very organized person, I thought I would share a few organization tips to help show you what I do so that maybe you can devise a system that works for you and maybe helps ease a little email pain.
- First, I love Outlook and no I am not being paid to promote them! However, it works really well for me because I have a junk email account that I use for catch all type things, my business email, another 2 emails for companies that I do outsource work for and then yet two others for my Juice Plus and Legal Shield part time gigs. So, yea, quite a bit of mail, but they all come into the same one program – Outlook. I don’t have to log into all those different accounts, they come to me. So, my point here is to have a place to house all of your emails.
- I have devised a file folder system in Outlook so all mail that after the email has been taken care of it gets filed in case I need to revisit it. I have a folder for each of my kids; my business and then a folder under AVB for all of my clients as well as a folder for prospecting; a folder for each of my outsource clients and then a folder for each of those clients under it; and then a SAVE folder which has an account (for all those registration, confirmation emails), house, school, ex and so on under there that I need to save for one reason or another. This leaves my inbox which only has action items in it.
- Another tip I do is to cc myself on everything. This way I know that I finished the conversation so I am waiting on the client’s response. Nothing like having to search through the inbox, trash, folders and sent files! Ugh. Once I receive my cc’d version, I would delete the old one, as it really isn’t necessary to have 2 emails that essentially say the same thing. Less clutter too!
- Ever read that subject line that says… “proposal” or “update” or something very generic. At a quick glance, who is it from, what is it about? When I reply to those emails, or start emails, I create a subject that has 2 things – the client’s name and the specific subject of the email. This way it will be easier to find an email about that client before it goes into the folder and then when searching for a topic, it will be easier to find.
- Outlook has some really great tools as well, like flags and categories. Flags are great in that you click tag and it will show up in another window (as long as it is set up) and serves as a visible reminder. Categories are limitless since they are customizable. I have created some that say, account info, reminder and follow-up, for example. I would mark these before I file them into one of the folders.
- So instead of having an email with my flight information for 3 months away sitting in my inbox, I mark it with a flag or with a reminder category and file it in SAVE. Your inbox is limited into what you can see at a glance so it is helpful to have only the more important actionable items there.
- Lastly, I like the tasks. You can create a task and set a pop-up window to remind you at a certain time. I have a task set up to call the attorney general about my ex, every month, but who could remember that every month? I set up a task I get a pop up when the time is due, plus, it show up with the flagged events in the To-Do Bar, if visible.
I could write on this stuff all day long, but didn’t want to put you to sleep. So, I hope these have been helpful tips to help your inbox be a little more organized and less overwhelming. I’d love to hear if you have certain tips that seem to work well for you as well.