How to Clean Your Inbox in 30 Minutes

Jan 22, 2020

Chances are your inbox is a lot like that abandoned basket of stuff sitting in the back of your closet. You know it's dying to be cleaned out (and is housing many hidden surprises), but the thought of tackling such a task is overwhelming. And who has six hours of free time to spare for something like that?

Well don't fret, organizing your emails doesn't have to take all day-in fact, you can do it in just 30 minutes if you set aside the time for it. Here's how:

#1: Clear Out the Junk

First, it’s not your fault. The business world is so full of emails that the Federal Trade Commission had to make the CAN-SPAM Act. This act was signed into law in 2003 as a way to give the recipient more control of their emails by adding regulations to commercial emails such as requiring an opt-out button. If an email is spamming you and you cannot unsubscribe, forward the message to the FTC with a message explaining your complaint.

Even with this law, it is still your responsibility to manage your inbox and supervise the quantities of emails you receive on a daily basis.

Unsubscribing is the first way to reign in those constant messages. If you see you’re getting an email from a company or person more than once a day or every day with material that does not relate to you, unsubscribe from them. As stated before, there should be an unsubscribe button somewhere on the email. Look carefully though, they are often hidden in tiny text at the bottom.

If unwanted emails are sent from a personal address or you do not want to unsubscribe, you can block or spam the sender, depending on your email options. If spammed, these emails will still come in but will be directed to your junk box folder. We recommend emptying your junk folder at least once a week because a full junk folder can slow down emails just like your inbox. Be sure to skim through the emails though and make sure none of them are actually important*

*To access materials inside an email marked as spam, you must mark it as “not spam” and it will be sent to your inbox.

What about the senders whose emails you do not want to miss but send you too many? Deals from your favorite store, social media notifications, these are the emails that tend to fall into this category and there is a way to curb the email volume from cluttering your inbox. Like the unsubscribe button, there are often options to “update notifications” or “edit alerts” settings. By customizing what types of emails you want sent to you, you can reduce the number of emails being sent to you.

#2: Filter and Delete

Now that you’ve gotten a handle on what is coming in, start clearing out some of those old emails. The fastest way to start trimming down those numbers is to utilize the search bar. You are probably familiar with certain senders based on their frequency. Facebook, for example, might send more than a dozen emails a day based on your settings. Searching and then deleting batches of these common past spammers should significantly decrease your inbox numbers. Filtering all unopened emails is another speedy way to empty your inbox, but this process might mean you accidentally delete some non-spam messages.

#3: Organize, Organize, Organize

The last step is to organize the remaining, important emails. Categorizing these emails based on senders such as HR department, supervisors, family, and making new folders based on these groups will make finding certain emails easier to find and prioritize.

If you are using Outlook, there are several additional features you should be utilizing to further organize your work schedule and task. We will discuss these advantages in an upcoming blog.

It might take a few minutes out of your day to keep your emails in check once your inbox is organized, but just like cleaning out your desk, it will save you time and make you more efficient in the long run.

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