Does fighting with your inbox feel like trying to drink the ocean, one sip at a time? If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you need to declutter that inbox, fear no more. Help is here.
Getting to a pristine inbox, even across multiple message platforms, is doable. And you can approach it as simply as picking up your living space: one task at a time.
Step 1: Unsubscribe
Whether the problem is a jam-packed email inbox or cluttered Slack channels, you can opt out and still stay informed.
One option is to use a program that helps you unsubscribe to all those daily deals (that sometimes come more than once a day). Programs like Unroll Me or Mailstrom have been around a while and put all your subscriptions on one page so you can click that unsubscribe button all in one place.
As always, be careful what third-party-programs you’re giving access to your email accounts. When in doubt, do it yourself and don’t rely on a program you’re unsure of.
“While you probably just delete most of these unwanted emails every day, they clog your inbox, waste your time checking them off and then pushing delete, and make it hard for you to see the emails that actually matter,” wrote Stephanie Kaplan at Forbes. “For a span of about a week or so, every time you get an email you do not want to receive (the ones from your mom don’t count!), take the time to open it, scroll down, and figure out how to unsubscribe from the list.”
Or get sorted…
Don’t want to unsubscribe just yet? If you’re desperate to keep that line of communication open, but you don’t want to see these messages everyday, there are solutions. You can create auto filters within your inbox to send those emails from various stores and sites to a special folder (or folders). When you need that super terrific discount, you can just search your account for the sender.
Note: this is kind of like hoarding, still. It basically fills up the garage with junk while the living room is clean. So … grain of salt there.
Or just leave the group…
With Slack, you likely subscribe to a million little “fun” channels that are clogging up both your email inbox with various PINGs throughout the day.
Do you really read the “weird stuff” channel? Do you need the “birthdays” one, for real? If you never go there, and it’s not a necessary, just leave it.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Whether the problem is a jam-packed email inbox or cluttered Slack channels, you can opt out and still stay informed.” quote=”Whether the problem is a jam-packed email inbox or cluttered Slack channels, you can opt out and still stay informed.”]
Step 2: Set a timer and get It done
If the morning’s slog through emails is hard to handle, so much so that you put it off until afternoon most days, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Set a timer, maybe with some soothing rain sounds in your ears, and spend 15 or 20 minutes each morning going through and checking inboxes, sorting and deleting (and unsubscribing) to what you need to, leaving only the cream of must-do emails in there.
You’ll find, just like cleaning up that kitchen counter, if you just tackle it a little every day, it won’t be so bad. Leave it to fester, and you’ll be sorry.
Step 3: Make it yours
If you haven’t tinkered with your settings in a while, now’s a good time to take a peek. There are tons of small changes that can yield big results. Tweak the preview so that you can see the meat of each message before you click. Create folders for “priority” messages from the boss. And so on:
- Use Outlook? Here are 13 ways you can use it more productively, from creating to-do tasks with one click to better organizing email chains.
- If you’re using Gmail for work and home, make sure you’re staying organized. Here are 15 tips for getting that inbox how you like it.
- Here are some great insider tips you can try for Slack, including how to sort messages, pin important ones to the top of group channels and even make sure that you see the ones from important folks first.
No matter what, getting your messages organized and staying on task is number one for productivity. We don’t all have personal assistants to get us the priority messages fast. You’ve got to do your own dirty work. For now.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
How do you keep your email inbox tidy? We want to hear some more great tips! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.