Spring Cleaning: How To Keep Your Inbox Empty

Email has become today’s central communication tool for planning work, school, and social events.  All this information dumping into your inbox can accumulate quickly, weighing on your mind and reducing your effectiveness.

But there’s a few simple tips that will allow you to keep your inbox empty, your information organized, and your sanity intact.

  • Upgrade your Email Service: Services like Google’s Gmail offer a host of integrated features allowing you to share information across applications.  If you’re concerned about losing your old address, fear not –you can import and operate multiple emails from a single Gmail account.  Gmail also offers enough space that you never have to delete anything, and a search function allows you to pull up old emails containing specific words.
  • Labels: Gmail lets you to apply as many labels as you want to a correspondence.  Labels like “Recipes” allow you to archive specific types of emails together for easy reference.
  • Filters: You can control what happens to an email based on the sender, or even words in the title.  If you communicate with different groups of people, consider directing their messages to different folders – your boss’s emails can go straight to the “Work” file, while your mother’s go to the “Family” file, meaning less sorting when you finally sit down to work.
  • Calendar: With Google calendars, you can set up multiple calendars, which you can look at individually or together, letting you to lay your social plans over top of your work schedule –a great way to keep info organized while avoiding conflicts.  You can even make calendars public, so others can see your availability, or create a group schedule.
  • Email Reminders: For items on your calendar, Gmail gives you the option of having a reminder emailed to your inbox – a week in advance, an hour beforehand, or anything in-between.
  • Task List: You can to create a virtual “to do” list using the task list, and check off items as they’re completed.  This really shines when combined with the calendar –you can create different task lists that correspond to different calendars.  Include a date in a to-do item and it automatically appears on your calendar.  You can view calendar items and your task lists from your inbox, collecting all the info you could possibly need into a single screen.
  • Colour-Coding: Calendars, task lists, and labels can all be colour-coded, which makes jumping from work, to school, to social planning less confusing.

Using these tools, organization virtually takes care of itself.  You’ll find you never have to worry about forgetting something, and can devote more attention to just getting things done!

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