2020 Encouragement

2020 Organizing Encouragement – Declare Email Bankruptcy

We have made it to the third Monday of 2020. In a perfect world/time/place, we would all have our 2019 files all cleaned up and organized and sorted, both physical paper and digital files, including photos.


I’m still going through mine, so no judgement all around!

If your email inbox is out of control, admit it. There is no shame; life happens. Email can stack up quickly, especially with all the sale emails in December, then all the New Year, New Start emails in early January. It can be a LOT!

Steps to claiming email bankruptcy (personal email addition):

  1. Take a quick look through the past few weeks, specifically at the sender, anything important from a friend or loved one?
  2. Deal with anything you need to right away. Or, add a task to your todo list.
  3. Next, set up a folder or label in your email system called archive or Old or 2019. Gmail uses labels, Outlook and Apple mail use folders. Call it whatever makes the most sense for you.
  4. Move all the email in your inbox from 2019 (and older) into this new folder or label (in Gmail you will need to archive it as well).
  5. Now all that is left in your inbox are emails from the past 20 days. That is manageable; you got this!
  6. The first sweep – delete all the sales emails
  7. The second sweep – Newsletters. I’m sure you have a few New Year newsletters you didn’t have time to read. You ‘could’ move these to the archive folder/label you made if you think you will have time in the future to read them, your call. If chances are high, you won’t make time, archive/delete them.
  8. Now, all that should remain in your inbox are actionable items. One productivity theory is that tasks shouldn’t be left your email inbox; they should be on the task list that you are working on trusting If that works for you great, if not keep it in your inbox until you can do the task, but don’t leave it there indefinitely. 

If your day job also has email, you can go through a similar sort as above but be more careful that you don’t miss any important emails from clients or bosses!

Going forward, the key is maintenance, just like the todo list. Check and archive/delete emails regularly. If you get a lot of sales promos or newsletters you no longer want, unsubscribe! You can always re-subscribe when you have time to read the newsletter or are interested in the companies sales. Your (personal) email inbox is yours to control.

Let me know if this resonated with you. You can comment below or find me on socials! Tag me but also use the hashtag #OWJOrgEncouragement

Find the full list of 2020 Organizing Encouragement here.

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