By 2025, people will send 376.4 billion emails per day. It's a form of communication that gets business done and enhances personal communication.
It can also be a source of angst if you aren't able to keep your email box under control. Finding the right process will help you keep your email neat and tidy. We're happy to offer some insight.
These tips will help you learn more about using and organizing email folders.
Consider the Types of Folders to Keep
Choosing the right folders can help you get more productive and to get more from your work weeks. These folders will let you arrange your emails into different categories while making sure that nothing important is accidentally deleted or misplaced.
You may also use a combination of email tags to help you keep your email accounts organized. Here are some of the main types of folders that you can keep in mind:
The Primary Inbox
This part of your email account is particularly important if you are an email marketer or someone who sends messages regularly. Your primary inbox is the main place where your emails come in before they are filtered or siphoned off into categories.
Before you apply any email labels, you'll need to have a part of your inbox that accepts the massive variety that comes in. This portion of your account will typically also show your email storage limits so that you know how much data you have used and where you can free up space.
Consider this part of your email inbox like a bus depot or airport where vessels pull up before they are sorted into different areas.
To-Do List Folder
While scrolling through important emails is part of the process, make sure that you also consider the to-do section. Making effective to-do lists will help organize your work week.
This breaks down your email account into bullet points that you need to scratch off to successfully get through your week. You can use this section to create alerts and alarms so that you don't forget about an important to-do.
You can also prioritize your to-do list so that you can knock each item off in an order that lets you be productive and assertive throughout your work week.
Folders for Responses in the Near Future
Once your emails are split into categories, make sure that you also have a folder for emails that you need to respond to within the next day, week, or so.
Putting your emails into this category lets you make sure that they don't get lost in the mix hanging out in your primary inbox. When you split your emails into folders based on when you need to respond, you won't likely overlook it and will be able to get back to people in a timely manner.
Business is lost, and personal relationships are damaged by failing to communicate effectively. By partitioning folders off in this way, you can stay on top of each conversation and make sure that you are never waiting too long to get back to people.
An Archive Folder
Make sure that you also set up a folder for any emails that you want to keep for the long term. This could be emails that you hold onto for their detail and importance, such as archiving sensitive documents and important information.
You might also want to keep emails in archives because they hold sentimental value. Putting your emails into this folder will make it so that you never accidentally delete these email messages. You can also put safeguards on the email so that you can't simply delete it.
Set rules for your archive folder so that you can keep track of emails even years after receiving or sending them.
Set a Consistent Naming and Organizational Format
To keep your email account organized, you need to have your own system for naming and categorizing them. There are multiple points you should consider, but the important thing is to pick a system and stick to it.
Here are some matters that will help:
Separate Based on Categories
Depending on your use of the email address, you likely regularly receive the same kinds of emails regularly. For example, if you're a freelance graphic designer, you may choose to split your emails up based on the client or type of client.
You could also separate them into folders based on proposals, queries, ongoing project communication, and others. When you handle your email like this, you will avoid redundancy and run less of a chance of your emails getting lost or misplaced.
Alphabetize or Organize Based on Importance
After finding a folder-keeping system that works for you, make sure that they are alphabetized or ordered in other ways. This also requires you to come up with a naming system that is easily distinguishable.
Your system could include email tags or other markers that lessen the confusion. When your folders are in alphabetical order, it cuts down on the time that it takes to find what you are looking for. You may also use groups and subgroups that are specific to your company or workflow.
Play around with a few ideas until you see what sticks.
Create Usable Subfolders
Using a set of email folders is the first step. You also have to break them down into different subfolders that make it easy to store emails and find what you're looking for.
This could mean differentiating based on different projects, keeping chronological orders by storing emails by the month, and other matters. Use as many subfolders as you need to keep your email box clean and your process productive.
Make the Best Use of Your Emails
Once you have your email folders in place, audit your processes so that you are getting the most from your email accounts. Your processes could involve things like when to check your email, setting up auto-deletion rules, and choosing settings for signatures and other details.
Here are some of the main things that you might consider:
Delete Junk and Keep Track of Storage
Deleting what you don't need is the best way to clear the clutter in your email box. Email becomes a pain point for a lot of people simply because they allow their accounts to pile up too much.
Digital hoarders have trouble deleting things because they feel like there's always a reason that they will need it later. Choose to keep your email account lean and to only keep communication that helps you now or in the near future. Use archives whenever you can, but be deliberate about the way that you delete things and empty the trash or recycle bin.
Run a check of your email accounts at least once a week to make sure that you're not letting anything pile up unnecessarily.
Consider the Search Function
Learn the search function of your email account so that you can pinpoint emails of all types whenever you need to. This is where adding email tags comes into play because you can pull emails based on the subject matter, clientele, and other factors.
When you familiarize yourself with the search function, you'll be better able to find any messages that you have filed away and forgotten but later need to retrieve.
Choose the Best Email Client
Do everything that you can to start using the email platform that will work best with what you're trying to accomplish. The dashboard should be graphical, functional, and easy to use.
It also needs to have features that make it easy to sort, archive, and find any sort of emails that you're keeping track of. Keep these email clients consistent between devices so that you're getting a quality experience on a mobile device just like you would a laptop.
Try out a few different platforms until you figure out which one makes you comfortable in your regular work life. Starting with the right email client makes it easier for you to stay organized and to have flexibility with the way that you stay organized.
Make the Most of Your Email Folders
Organizing your email folders will help you be more productive and process-oriented. This is a skill that will serve you no matter what line of work you're in. Learning how to organize your email lets you win back your time while also getting more work done and conducting better business.
Mailstrom can help you clean your inbox and keep it that way. If you have questions, contact us to learn more.