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8 Tips for Organizing Emails: Improve Your Email Efficiency

Updated on November 15, 2015

How to Organize Email in your Inbox

Organizing Emails:The global adoption of email as a primary means of business communications adds speed, efficiency and employee empowerment to the sending and receiving of information, both internally to co-workers and externally to our customers and suppliers.

For many of us, the ever-increasing volume of incoming emails presents a daunting challenge for maintaining personal efficiency and productivity. The expanded real-time access to email messaging offered through mobile devices and unified communications further stresses the need for managing and organizing email effectively in your inbox. Here are a few suggestions to help you organize your email messages.

Screenshot Image by the Author

8 Tips For Organizing Emails

Arranging Your Outlook Inbox:

The layout of your Outlook Inbox enables you to view the specific properties of the incoming email message, and to sort the order of the email messages accordingly. The task bar in the Outlook Inbox is used to customize the icons for sorting and viewing the incoming email messages based upon the email's properties.

For example, you can use the icons to determine which new messages will show up at the top of your Inbox by importance, the latest message received, the subject line, or by who sent the email. You can see if an email message has an attachment and pre-view the size of the file, which can be an important consideration when mobile or if on a connection with limited bandwidth.

Customizing the icons on the task bar of your Inbox allows you to organize email messages based upon your priorities, and helps to determine which messages are most deserving of your attention.

Create Archive Folders:

Reduce the overall clutter in your Inbox by moving email messages into archive folders and project folders. New folders are easy to create by simply right clicking on "Archive" and then selecting "New folder". Label the folders by topic, customer name or sender and then move those emails worth saving into the appropriate folder.

Archiving messages makes it easier to sort and find the remaining messages in your Inbox. You can also archive Unread messages into folders. This is a great way to reduce clutter in your inbox by moving low importance messages into assigned folders, then reading them when (or if) you have more time.

Enable "Auto Preview":

In Outlook, the Auto Preview feature allows you to see the first few lines of an email without actually opening the message.

You can glance at all of the email messages in your Inbox, scanning for repeated threads or opening lines of interest or importance.

Use the Auto Preview feature to determine if the email should be read right away, or archived in one of the newly created folders for later.

Want to reduce Inbox clutter?

Delete those unnecessary emails!

Use the "Delete" Key:

This is another clutter-clearing exercise that makes it easier to organize emails: Use the Delete key.

Deleting emails after you are finished reading or acting upon the message not only reduces the clutter in your inbox, it can also help relieve the stress associated when searching through an overflowing inbox to find important emails.

Set Up Rules:

Create Rules for auto-routing incoming email messages out of your inbox and into predefined mailboxes to read later. The Rules function allows you to send automatically emails to pre-determined folders by specific email addresses, distribution lists or by subject line.

Low priority emails such as newsletters or other subscriptions can be automatically routed to a specific folder and stored until a later time.

Spam and Junk Mail Options:

If an email message slips through your spam filter, flag the sender as Junk Mail to block future messages from that specific sender.

The junk mail feature automatically routes the targeted email out of your Inbox and into the Junk Email folder for deletion. Emails are not deleted automatically, so you have the option to open the Junk Email folder periodically to review the messages that were routed automatically to the folder.

Do you really need to "Reply to All"?

Avoid the "Reply to All" Syndrome

It is not uncommon for lengthy threads to circulate and recirculate through your Inbox, as everyone who responds to the email message automatically clicks on the "Reply to All" option.

Before replying to an email with multiple addressees, take note of the other users who were copied on the message. Does your response apply to everyone, or only a specific few?

Limiting the distribution list for sending messages can also help to reduce receiving unnecessary emails in return. The others on the distribution list will also appreciate your efforts to not send them a message that they really didn't need anyway.

Turn off the Return Receipts for Read and Delivery

Certain situations clearly call for obtaining a receipt on the delivery or opening of an important or time-sensitive email message. However, using the Read and Delivery Receipt functions appropriately can eliminate receiving unnecessary confirmations. Receiving fewer unnecessary new email messages makes easier to organize your email inbox.

Organizing Emails Pays Benefits: To You!

In today's time compressed business environment, using some or all of these suggestions can help you to organize email, saving a few valuable minutes every day.

Email management can also help to reduce the feeling of being stressed and overwhelmed by too many emails in your Inbox.

Multiple the minutes saved by the days in a week, month and year, and you can gain back some valuable time.

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You just have a gift for organizing and helping others get there too and you've done it again with our Email, time to do some deleting. Netiquette" is a new term for me...the rules are excellent, thanks for including that and then a fun video for our entertainment! Blessed.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Love the last video. I dislike acronyms but lately I have started using some myself. lolBlessed this lens.

    • kathysart profile image


      7 years ago

      lots of work went into this lens.. very nice! THUMBS UP too!!


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