Checking and responding to emails takes up 16% of the average workweek, and only 55% of workers maintain an empty inbox.
Whether it’s for your personal account, work account, or both, learning how to organize your email is one of the best things you can do to improve the efficiency of the entire process.
Setting up folders and filters turns your cluttered inbox into a neat and manageable area where specific messages are easy to find. Keeping multiple accounts organized provides added benefits, and so does using apps.
Read our guide for tips on organizing your email account so you can spend less time sorting through it and more time doing what you love.
How to Organize Your Email
There are several ways to go about cleaning up your email accounts, and while none are wrong, some work better than others.
The best methods include setting up a folder system, using filters, setting up multiple accounts, and using apps.
Set Up a Folder System
Looking at all your messages at once is overwhelming and counterproductive. It doesn’t help you figure out what each one is trying to say or how to respond.
All large sources of data have a system for organizing and searching through their contents. Libraries have card catalogs, books have indexes, and email inboxes have folders.
Creating folders should be the first step you take when cleaning up your email inbox because it makes the rest of the process much easier. You can use these helpful organizational tools to categorize emails in any way you choose.
You may want to create a folder for:
- Bills and/or payments
- Receipts, orders, and inboxes
- Personal or work projects
- Passwords and account information
- Miscellaneous emails
Fewer folders are better, and you shouldn’t have more than five. Too many will end up being too difficult to sort through and won’t save you the time you intended them to.
The mail client you use affects how you create folders, what types you can make, and what they’re called.
Outlook has only about 400 million users but provides some useful features. One of its best functions is the ability to create search folders. They allow you to group emails from a certain sender or based on a certain search term.
Gmail has taken over the email game with over 1.5 billion global active users. Part of its popularity may be its ability to help you keep a neat, organized inbox. Learn how to make folders in Gmail here.
85% of users check their email on their smartphones. Most email apps have features that allow you to categorize messages.
Whatever email client you use, folders make it easier to manage. Instead of looking at a mass of messages, you’ll be able to find the content you need.
Once you’ve decided how to organize your email, you can take the next step in the process. Automate your organization and manage incoming messages using filters.