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How to Manage your Inbox

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Fed up of your inbox always being full? Do you feel disorganised and find it hard to keep up with emails? Well, emails can easily be managed if you know how.

Typically emails can be split into four groups:

  1. those that are either spam or irrelevant to your job, so can be deleted straight away
  2. those that you have to either forward or reply to
  3. those that you don’t need to answer or action but provide you with important information
  4. those that require action by you

Organising and Filing

So, before filing appropriate emails, first you need to decide what to do with incoming email. If it’s junk, or irrelevant delete it straight away to prevent cluttering your inbox. Don’t open any attachments from people or email addresses you don’t recognise as they may contain unsafe information.

Emails that are to be handled as a task could be moved to a ‘to do’ folder, whereby you work through these tasks and once complete move them to it’s correct folder type.

For those emails that contain information or that need to be kept for reference should be filed in it’s appropriate folder straight away, once read.

If you receive a message that needs a response, reply as soon as possible and then file if appropriate.

Archiving Important Information

Once you’ve decided what to do with your emails then depending on its type, it can be organised in different ways to fully maximise your inbox. One of the best methods is to create and use folders.

Similarly to a filing cabinet, emails can be archived, which is especially crucial for those emails with important documentation attached. This includes having subfolders, for example if you deal with finance you may have a main finance folder, but sub folders broken down by either companies you deal with or by job or document type.

In some cases you can set up rules to direct certain types of email straight to the email folder you need it to be in. This makes it easier for you to sort through and saves you time, rather than having to file it yourself (just as long as you remember to look in each of the files for new mail).

When checking emails, make sure that this is done regularly so not to create a backlog of emails. Do not however break off from your work each time you get an email notification, as this will make it hard to work productively. Either check once you’ve finished a task or have set times where you check and action as appropriate.

Keep your Inbox Tidy

From time to time clean up your inbox. Emails that have gone straight to the junk or spam folder will take up valuable storage space, so deleting these on a regular basis will make space for more important emails.

Remember Critical Emails

To ensure that you don’t forget about important email, mark it with a red flag, usually found on most email programs, or set up a calendar reminder to make sure that any deadlines aren’t missed. Alternatively if you check your email in the evening at home, remark the email as unread so that you don’t forget to action it in the morning if you haven’t already done so.

Pick Up the Phone

Finally instead of email, why not give the person a call. A lot of people create more emails for themselves as they default to it naturally. By calling people it helps to reduce what could fill your inbox.

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