Email, Keeping it Organized to Increase Productivity.

Pinterest truly is a magical social media tool. You can find all sorts of things! Like the inspiration for this blog post. Alas, I can’t take all the credit for this idea… but I can tell you my method for adapting it and how it helps! Get ready to declutter your Inbox and plan your day more efficiently with this e-mail file method!

It’s rather simple—the only two additional folders you NEED will be titled “Action Items” and “Follow Up.” (I put a ‘1’ in front of the folder names so they appear directly under my Inbox for quick access).

Basically, everything that arrives to my Inbox is placed in a folder immediately after opening it. If I don’t have time to read an e-mail the moment it comes through, I don’t open it (by the way, it’s okay to leave a message unopened if you’re in the middle of a project or task). This way, an important e-mail doesn’t get lost in the sea of “did I read this yet?… what’s it about?… I forgot to respond!” 

Once I read the e-mail, it’s filed in one of three places. If the e-mail simply contains information I need to keep handy or pertains to a specific client, I put it in their specific folder (typically these files have the client/company name). If it’s something I need to respond to or take action on, it goes in the “Action Items” folder. If the e-mail is something I need to check-up on and doesn’t require an immediate answer, or if I’m waiting for another piece of the project, the message is filed under “Follow Up.”

The beauty of the “Action Items” folder is that it serves as THE place for me to look and see what needs to be done that day. Because it’s an Action Item, I know it requires work and that it’s important. If the day becomes a whirlwind and I don’t have time to re-read over the e-mails, I can look in the “Action Items” folder and instantly know what to do first. When an item is completed, or I have responded to a message that required my attention, it gets moved from the “Action Items” or “Follow Up” folder into the appropriate client folder.

Plus, each morning begins with a clear, open Inbox. Well, you know, aside from the projects that came in overnight…

Try it out for yourself. I think you’ll find this e-mail filing method less stressful. It makes prioritizing tasks much easier.