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You’ve Got Mail: 4 Tips for a Busy Inbox

By: Ashley Shamp, Program Coordinator

Managing email clutter can be a problem for us all. With most business being done electronically, it’s easy to allow email to pile up, and ultimately, become overwhelming and difficult to manage. I realized I had to come up with a better way to manage email clutter when I found myself getting 75-100 emails per day. With this amount of email, it can be easy to miss important details in all the clutter. I’ve found that if I follow the tips below, it’s easier for me to reduce my email clutter and complete my work throughout the day.

  1. Create categorical folders, and if it’s helpful, create subfolders within those folders. Creating folders not only organizes emails, but makes it easier to locate old emails you need to revisit. However, keep in mind that too many subfolders can become confusing. The point is to organize emails in the most efficient and logical way – not to send you down a rabbit hole in search of an email you filed months ago.
  2. Check your email on a schedule. Do not let emails accumulate until the end of the day. I find that if I make it a point to check emails at the start of each hour, things are easier to manage and my emails don’t pile up. If the start of the hour doesn’t work for you – create target times throughout the day that make sense for your schedule.
  3. If an email can be resolved quickly, answer it first to reduce clutter in your inbox. This will reduce the number of emails in your inbox, while also clearing tasks quickly. Once a task is completed, file the email in the appropriate folder.
  4. Flag important items and leave them in your inbox until finished. It’s easy to read an email and forget to go back to it. If you flag an item in Outlook, the email will appear in the To-Do Bar and in the Daily Tasks list in your calendar. This will remind you of emails that need to be resolved.

The most important thing is to find a system that works for you! We all have unique organization techniques that keep us on track. Try out a few different ways of managing your inbox, and when you find something that works – stick with it.


Ashley graduated from Auburn University in 2012 with a bachelors in marketing. She lives in Auburn with her husband, and enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her spoiled house rabbits.