3 Ways to Clean Up Your Inbox in No Time

Tanya Smith, Online Business StrategistTanya Smith, Online Business Strategist

The biggest challenge with email is managing the ridiculously high volume you get daily. It’s like bad acne – just when you think you’ve cleared it out, more email shows up.

And regardless of which spam filter you use nothing will ever be as accurate as you at filtering out the things you want to see from the emails you don’t want.

How do you get through all of that inbox clutter without being on email every minute of every day? You need a plan for speeding up the process.

The following 3 tips will help you do just that.

Tip #1 – Get It All in One Place

People have multiple email addresses for different reasons. Maybe you want your personal email separated from your work/business info. Perhaps you have several profiles online and each has its own domain-specific email. Either way, the key to speeding things up is having all your email in one place. You can waste a lot of time logging into 5 different accounts instead of one.

Email services like Gmail and Outlook allow you to import email addresses to a single inbox. Typically you can look in the “settings” for instructions on how to do this, or try contacting your primary service’s support team to find out how you can view all your email in one inbox.

Tip #2 – Eliminate Emails You Don’t Want

You can do this in two ways – first, get over the idea you’re missing something just because you’re not on so-and-so’s latest greatest newsletter list. Choose a handful of people whose emails you want to follow because they offer you rich and valuable information to support your work or personal goals.

Second, go through your current laundry list of subscriptions and unsubscribe from any that don’t fall into your newly created VIP (very important propaganda) list. You can do this manually, or try a service like Unroll.me.

This will probably not be a one-time task. If you’ve subscribed to a lot of emails over time, just make it a habit to watch for unwanted emails popping up in your inbox. When they do, scan for the link to unsubscribe and take care of it in the moment.

Tip #3 – Set Up Filters to Manage Your Email

Now that you’ve centralized everything and you’re getting rid of subscriptions to unwanted emails, this should reduce the amount of time it takes to go through your inbox.

The next step requires a little more effort in that you have to prioritize emails by topic, sender, and importance.

Try this exercise:

  • Get a blank sheet of paper and draw a two lines down the center to create 3 columns;
  • Look at your inbox right now and scan for “important senders”;
  • For names that stand out, list the name in column #1;
  • In column #2, come up with a 1-2 word topic this sender typically writes you about;
  • In column #3, assign a priority (i.e. 1,2,3 or A, B, C – it’s completely your call as long as you know what you mean)

Now use this list as a starting point for creating folders or labels by which you can organize incoming email. For example, you might use the topics in column 2 to categorize emails.

With certain email services, you can “train” your inbox to recognize these categories and automatically move emails from certain senders to the correct folder.


It may take some time initially to set this up, but once you do you will find it’s much faster to clean out your inbox. Implementing any or all of the 3 tips will help you free up more time so you can spend less of it in email jail and more on things that matter most to you.

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist specializing in showing independent service providers how to leverage the internet to get more done online. Her company, Be Promotable, provides fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote her business owners as power players in their market. For more information, read more at www.about.me/tanyasmith and get free business resources to streamline your day at: www.tanyasmithonline.com.

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