Email Organization

I could write more than a dozen articles on organization and its different applications. But today I’m going to focus on our email. Even with that I could spend hours discussing ways to handle email. I went on vacation the other week, yes even I get to go on vacation. That’s when it really hit home having the emails pile up and how easy it is to feel completely out of control. Of all the emails I received there were really only a handful that were of any importance.

Does this happen to you when you’re on vacation or just away from your email for even a few hours? If you answered yes, then read on to see how to organize your emails so you keep your emails under control and findable.

There are as many ways to organize your emails as there are to organize your office or closet. The best organizational setup for you is the one you’re actually going to use. However, there are a few tricks that I use that you might find helpful.
Just because most email programs want to put your folders in alphabetical order doesn’t mean you can’t use that to your advantage. Special characters then numbers and then letters are how most PC based programs alphabetize names. I put the most important or most used folders towards the top by putting a “~” such as ~Clients.

Some email programs won’t let you have subfolders so you can use a naming convention that allows you to group like folders. Take my business networking folders. I use the letters BN for Business Networking and then follow that with whatever I want to put in the folder: BN-Contacts; BN-Events and so forth. If I wanted Events to come before Contacts I could name it BN-1-Events and then BN-2-Contacts. If you use the same naming convention in the same order, you’ll know what’s where.

Another tip about naming things is to put a code in the subject line. If you work with projects, invoices, plans, proposals via email then putting the project number, etc. in the subject line will let you easily sort and locate emails pertaining to a specific event. This works whether the email program has the ability to do “conversations” or not.

Today we just covered Naming Conventions. Stay tuned for more tips about “Rules” on keeping your emails organized.

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