Organization Hack: Email

Are you one of the people that has like 1000 unopened emails? Can you open your phone and see that red dot next to your email icon and not freak out? I am one of the people who can’t stand to see the red dot.  In fact, it bothers me so much that I turned that feature off on my phone for emails.  I get so many a day that I don’t always have enough time to go through them all in a timely manner, and the red dot makes me crazy.  Now, if you ask me how I turned it off, I have no clue.  I probably couldn’t do it again, but somehow I figured it out.  I am very particular about email. Yes, I know I am very particular about a lot of things. You all know that I have an obsession with organization, neatness, and structure.  I am no different with email.  I am one of those people that will delete the email once it has been read unless it contains important information.  If it is an email that I need to return to later for some action, I will flag the email as important so I can easily find it later. In fact, I will go through my flagged emails daily to make sure things are completed on time. Once the action has been completed, I will delete it.  This is how I stay accountable.  The flagged emails are only those emails that require some kind of action from me.  It could be a form that needs completing, a payment that needs to be made, or something that needs to be turned in.  

All other emails that contain important information that I may need to refer to later or that I need to keep that don’t require an action are kept in folders within my email.  I do love some folders! Virtual folders or real folders, it doesn’t matter! They all make me happy. LOL! I have a Yahoo account (Yes, I know that shows that I am old!)  as my personal email account, and it is easy to create and sort folders in it.  I have a Gmail account for this blog, and it is also easy to create folders there.   I am certain that any email service provider will have the option to easily create folders. I like things neat and organized, and creating folders is what helps me to do that.  For example, each year I create a separate folder for each of my daughters for all school related information.  The title of those folders is my daughter’s name and the grade she is in that year. Then all important school information that I need to keep goes in that designated folder.  I also create a folder each year for my daughter’s sports. It will be titled with the team name and year or level.  At the end of each season or school year, I will go through those files and delete anything that I no longer need.  This again makes it easier to locate information when I need it. It keeps me from scrolling through a million emails to find the right one.  

Below is a description of some of the other folders I have for sorting my emails. 

  • Receipts: 

In this folder, I keep any receipts from things I have purchased throughout the year. For example, if I order something from a store online, I will get an emailed receipt.  Those emails automatically get put into this folder in the event that I need the receipt for a return.  Any PayPal receipts also go in here unless they are specific to one of my businesses. 

  • Taxes: 

I have a tax folder for each of my small businesses.  This is where I put invoices for things purchased for my businesses and other information needed for taxes.  When tax season rolls around, I can go to this folder and easily print out everything that I need to take to our accountant. 

  • Addresses: 

This folder contains emails where people have either sent me a roster for the girls’ sports or activities I am in or emails with address changes.  This is how I keep up with contact information for people. Now, once I have updated the contact information in my phone, I will delete these emails. 

  • Recipes:  

Sometimes friends will email me recipes or I find one online, and email it to myself. All of those go in this folder. 

  • Businesses: 

I have separate folders for each of my businesses as well. Anything relating to the business that isn’t tax information goes straight to one of these folders. 

  • Clubs:

I am the Vice President for the parents’ club for my daughter’s gym so I keep any email correspondence for it in a separate folder with the club’s name. 

Pretty much any email I receive that needs to be kept goes into some type of folder.  If I don’t need to keep the information, it is deleted right away.  In case you haven’t noticed the act of deleting something is satisfying to me! The only things that I keep just in the inbox are maybe something I wanted to read through but didn’t have time like a blog from another blogger I follow.  I will go back to it later and read it and then either sort it into the appropriate folder or delete it. I honestly don’t know how people can go without folders. It would drive me nuts to search through hundreds of emails at a time to find the thing I needed.  The same goes for unopened emails.  If you aren’t going to open them, you might as well delete them. What is the point in holding on to them and clogging up your inbox?  That is certainly a way to miss something important! To keep from having thousands of unopened emails in your inbox and having that red dot on your phone, commit to checking your email at least twice a day.  Check it once in the morning and once at night.  Then, if you have the time, check it at other times throughout the day. Whenever I open my email, I immediately go through and delete anything that is not important like all those emails from stores I shop at so that I don’t get distracted. Once that is done I go back and open all the ones that are left. This helps me stay on top of them all and ensures that I don’t miss anything.

Another tip that I have for keeping your emails organized it to unsubscribe from any email that you don’t care about.  I get tons of emails a day from stores and other junk that I never open because I don’t care. I many have had to enter my email at some point to purchase something or to get a discount, but I really don’t care to get their daily emails.  I try to go through those every now before deleting them and click “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email.  You don’t really need all that junk in your inbox. 

Declutter your email! Get rid of unwanted mail by unsubscribing, Sort your important emails into folders. Flag those emails that require an action. Delete anything that isn’t important, and check your email at least 2 times a day. These steps will make life easier and that red dot will go away. I promise!

Anchored and Organized,

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