Jump Start Jan: Declutter Week: Day 1

declutter and organise inbox zero email declutterWelcome to the start of our next themed week – it’s time to declutter and get organised! The reason ‘organised’ is in there is because if you don’t get some organisation in place very quickly after a declutter, the mess is going to start creeping back in and building up again.

Today is another gentle start – we’re going to declutter an email inbox. If you aren’t in the habit of doing this, maybe pick an address that’s not used much any more, or has lots of really old and useless emails in it.

Just like a physical declutter, you can create ‘boxes’ (email folders and sub-folders) for items of mail as you go along. Here’s how I do this, but if you have a better system of your own then do please let us know about it!

  • Create a folder for things you need to keep (e.g. ‘Priority to sort out’)
  • Create a folder for things you’re unsure about (you can sort it out later when you have more time)
  • Change the view of your inbox so that the emails are displayed by size, largest first
  • Go through the largest 30 emails, sorting into ‘Priority’, ‘Unsure’ and ‘Trash’ (a large number of them might well be trash, usually people sending huge files without saving in the correct format first)
  • Now change the view of your inbox so that the oldest emails are displayed at the top of the page
  • Go through them, oldest first, ruthlessly deleting or quickly adding to the ‘Priority’ or ‘Unsure’ folders.
  • Keep going
  • Keep going
  • Keep going
  • Have a tea break
  • Keep going
  • Put your viewing/display settings back to normal (usually newest mail first)

If you have time, try to clear your entire inbox. If not, spend at least 20 to 30 minutes on this task, and commit to doing some more soon, maybe a little every day until it’s sorted.

Did you make it to ‘inbox zero’? If so, congratulations. Now you can sort your emails out on a day to day basis without them swamping you.

What’s happening here?

I have an email account which I use only for newsletters and competitions, particularly ones where I suspect they might get spammy or sell their lists on to spammers. It is often useful for spotting tasty deals though, so it’s still in use, although more recently the good stuff’s being drowned out by the trashy stuff.

Everything in the account over two months old has been deleted without being checked (there’s nothing important in there that’s work or social), I’ve reported some spammers to the relevant authorities, and unsubscribed from some newsletters that seem to have changed ownership and gone dodgy. That left a small handful of bargain messages to tell everyone about on Twitter and Facebook, which were then duly deleted. Inbox zero!

I’ve also gone through one of my business emails and deleted some mahoosive files, to free up more space. They were mostly emails with 15 or so full size high res product shots attached. All gone to the cartoon-drawing-of-a-dustbin in the sky. Adios emailos.

Can you get to inbox zero today? 

Similar Posts