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One of the worst things I’ve found since working from home is my email inbox. It’s always overflowing, right? It’s time to take control and manage your email inbox as a work at home mom.
This is something that has taken me a while to figure out a management system that works for me. Admittedly, I actually have multiple email inboxes for different things, which has helped me considerably in managing things.
I have an email inbox for all email lists that I join. Then I have one for personal use to keep in touch with friends and family (although I use social media for that the most). The third is for all school and kids’ activities to make sure I don’t miss anything from them.
Those are all free Gmail emails. I do have individual professional emails for work purposes.
My email for all the lists I join or subscriptions I sign up for is then organized in a way that makes managing my time better. Here’s how you could manage your email inbox better doing it the way I do it.
I only check my emails three times per day
Unless it is one of my professional work inboxes where I can get a lot of emails that I need to answer within the hour, I’ll only check my emails three times per day. I check it first thing on a morning, at lunch time, and then at the end of the day.
This helps me be far more productive than I would be checking my email with ever notification that goes off. It’s amazing how long it can take to get back into the zone on a project because of an email alert.
If anything comes through between the times I’m checking my emails, I’ll deal with them at the next time I check.
And I make sure I deal with it at the time. This doesn’t mean I read it, but I do make sure I deal with it in some way.
Delete, read right away, or move to another folder
When I check my inbox, I do one of three things. I either delete the email right away, I read it immediately, or it gets moved to another folder for later.
Most emails from lists I’ve signed up to get moved to another folder. I have individual folders for different types of email lists since I sign up to them for a variety of reasons. They may offer business or SEO tips or they could be fun email lists that I enjoy to read at the end of the day.
Those that look important based on the subject or ones I’ve been waiting for specifically will get read right away. I can then decide if they require a reply or not. If they do require a reply, I make sure I do it right away. If I leave it, I’ll forget!
Those that are clearly spam or are no longer valuable, I delete. In some cases, I’ll go into the email to unsubscribe from an email. This is usually the case if I delete three emails in a row from a list because it no longer offers value.
Manage your email inbox with folders
The most valuable thing I’ve found is creating folders to manage all my emails. I do this for all my email accounts, including professional business ones.
They allow me to go straight back to an email that I wanted to read later. I can clearly see if there’s anything that I’ve missed because, especially in Gmail, there’s a clear number of unread emails.
I can also see if there are email lists that I’ve stopped finding valuable that I just move into a folder for later. If I’ve not read three or more of those emails in a week (or a month depending on how frequently they send emails), then I’ll go in and unsubscribe.
Unsubscribing is important to manage your email inbox better. There’s no point having emails clogging your system if they’re no longer offering you anything. Your email inbox is yours to control. You get to say who emails you.
I also color-code my folders. This is a personal choice as I find colors help my mind connect to something more than anything else. Everything I have is color-coded with a system that works for me.
I go through these emails at the very end of the day. Sometimes, I’ll do it when everyone else has gone to bed if I’ve got no personal emails from friends and family to reply to. This allows me to start these folders afresh for the following day.
Once I’ve got what I need from the emails, I’ll always delete them. I don’t need them clogging up my inboxes in anyway. I’ll keep emails from friends and family.
How do you manage your email inbox? What are you going to do in 2021 for better email inbox management? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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