Take control of your inbox


The other day I looked at my inbox and there were 700 emails. The HORROR. Hello delete key, you are my very best friend. The worst part is that I know better, I just got lazy. So this is a do as I say, not as I do kind of thing.

Get rid of things you don’t need

Maybe you gave that company your email address because you were signing up for something but do you ever actually read their newsletter? If not, unsubscribe. Unsubscribe from ALL THE THINGS. One more thing that you don’t have to delete. Even if like me, you have a special relationship with the delete key.

No double handling

I know that this is hard. I know we all want to just quickly check our email to find out if there’s anything extra special there. I KNOW. But the trick is if you read an email, decide what needs to be done with it then. Does it need a reply? If it does reply now. If you don’t have time now, flag it for later. Does it need to be filed or deleted? Then do that. But action that email when you read it. So that you aren’t reading it once and then thinking oh I should do something with that! And then later re-reading it and thinking oh I was supposed to do that. On and on. FOREVER. You are wasting valuable time.

IMAP it.

If you look at your email on more than one device – phone, computer whatever – then set it up as IMAP, rather than POP. That way when you read something or reply to something on one device, it will be marked as read on your other device. No double handling!

Filter it.

You can set up filters for all kinds of things. If they are from a certain person, or have a certain word in the subject, anything really. And set them up to go into their own folder. The main one I have is that emails from people in my contacts list go into their own folder. I know that pretty much anything urgent will go in there. So I don’t have to check all my email, I can just look to see if that folder has anything in it. But I’ve also used it to filter notifications into their own folder so I can just go in and read them if I need to or delete them.

Clear it out at the end of the day.

Clearly not my strongsuit. But if you get through all of your emails at the end of the day you won’t wake up to the stress of 700 EMAILS. And you don’t have to waste the first half hour of your day sorting through them all. Clean slate. You know, in theory.

Do  you have an inbox problem? Do you need a 12 step program? Or are you an email ninja?

Zoey is the Editorial Director at The Shake. She created The Shake based on the idea that substance is more important than sensationalism and that nuanced conversation isn't extinct, yet. Zoey started blogging in 2009 and this year was a finalist in the Australian Writers Centre best blog awards in the Personal category. Zoey lives in the middle of nowhere with two small children who are fond of clambering, destroying and/or stealing her computers and define level of fun according to volume of mess. Zoey is fond of taking photos, running and being not serious on the internet. You can read more here: www.zoeymartin.com


  1. I really love the filter options for email. It means I can subscribe to blogs via email (my preference) and get them sent off to their individual blog folder instead of cluttering my inbox.

  2. I don’t think I would call my self an inbox ninja because I don’t get that much emails to start with. I think having the email connected with my iphone makes it easy. If i delete a email on my phone it deletes online. If i read the email on my phone it marks it as read online. it makes it easy to maintain. All I have to do on the computer every now and then is tame my spam box.

  3. My problem – apart from not cleaning our my inbox regularly – is email programs just hate me in general lol I have a bad habit of breaking them. No idea how, u just do!

    MC x

Speak Your Mind