It’s that time of year again….time for those New Year’s Resolutions! The one Resolution that tops most lists is to become better organized. Whether that organization is in the form of your home, office or the dreaded email inbox, it’s always a task!

My goal in 2015 is to help that pending, waiting-to-be-read email (the dreaded red pop-up on your phone with the number of emails you still need to read) decrease in number instead of seeing it continuously increase!

Because I am in the business of working smarter, not harder, I put together a few quick ways to get to a clean slate when it comes to your inbox.

Tip 1: Create Folders

This simple tip of creating some folders within your inbox will help you all year long by taking minutes (maybe even days) of wasted time trying to find that one email you need to respond to, or get an important date or phone from the sender.

Some ideas for folders beyond my favorite folder, Important (its all important…right?) are projects you are currently working on, clients you are working with, and my go-to folder is taxes I have paid and the year (oh yes, the geeky business owner in me is coming out).

Tip 2: Move emails INTO the folders

It’s one thing to make the fancy folders, it’s another to actually use them. Now don’t get carried away with the folders– not everything has to have a folder, only the most important current projects of mine get put into folders…because honestly who has time to put all those emails into folders!  This leads us to the next tip what to do with those “other” emails.

Tip 3: Archive (if this is a function of your email)

Archive, as defined by the fine people at Google, removes messages from your inbox, but keeps them in your account so that you can always find them later. Archiving is like moving messages into a filing cabinet for safekeeping, rather than putting them in the trash can.

Archive button

Why archive?

  • Clean up your inbox by getting messages out of your way.
  • Archived messages stay in your account in case you need to find a phone number in someone’s signature or you become famous and write a memoir.
  • When you delete a message (instead of archiving), it will be automatically and permanently deleted after about 30 days.

What this will do….this is the Clean Slate!

The ultimate goal of a clean inbox to start your new year.

I would suggest doing this AFTER you make your folders and transport those important emails into the folders. Luckily you can always use the search feature (or select ALL MAIL) to find those old emails and organize them later incase you decide to hit the archive button before creating your folders…not that anyone writing this article did that or anything. But trust me the emails are still there.

So how can you stay organized well into 2015?

  • You can create filters in your email to automatically archive certain kinds of messages. Which I think will be key for me to continue with my quest of a zero email inbox.
  • Google also allows you to turn on a send and archive feature for all emails. This will help save you time if you feel like you are always archiving after you send an email.
  • Make sure to Star or Priorize those emails that need filled into folders and take time once a week to clean up your inbox. You will be amazed in what you can accomplish in just 10 minutes.

As I continue the quest to make this resolution of being more organized with my email in 2015, I would love to hear your best inbox tips! Please comment below and share you knowledge of organization!

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