Jul 02, 2013

How to Organize Your Email

Like many others, a good part of my day is spent in my inbox. In my experience, having a well organized email system is key to ensuring emails are not missed, priorities are set and above all, it really helps give me a sense of my daily workload. Some tips that work well for me:

1. LABELS: Emails are my archive for all client and project communication. It really helps me to be able to find an email from two years ago in seconds. I have set a label for each client I have worked with, as well as for other things such as personal mail, company mail, and even a label for each coworker.

2. FILTERS: Once you have labels set up, filters are your next best friend. I set every new email contact up with a filter that automatically tags and sorts emails I receive from them by the correct "label".

3. SUPER STARS: Stars are the backbone of my email system. I use stars to mark emails I need to respond to, and use different stars for everything: type of project, level of urgency, waiting feedback, need to respond, ready to send. The amount of starred emails in my inbox indicates my workload for the day... the goal is to get that number down to 0.

4. MULTIPLE INBOXES: The ability to sort my emails in multiple inboxes is really the culmination of my first few tips. I have 5 inboxes set up for my email:

Unread
Need to Respond - Ongoing Work
Need to Respond - New Websites
Questions
Need to Respond - Internal

Each inbox is designated by a different "star". I am able to glance through inboxes to see what clients I need respond to indicated by the label, what I need to get back on based on the star, and how many I need to follow up on based on the number in the particular inbox.