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Since the start of 2020, we have become more dependent on email as a primary source of communication for work, school and extracurriculars. It is easy to let it get to hundreds (or even thousands) of messages in our inboxes, but what is the best way to keep track of them all and still prioritize the most important emails? There is no one-size fits all for email decluttering, but here are tips on how to get your inbox closer to zero:

Make a Plan

When you have more than a thousand emails in your inbox, it can be hard to know where to start. Everyone has different commitments that need to be sorted out, especially in your inbox. Drafting a quick plan to read/sort them will make it more manageable and lead to better results in maintaining your inbox for the future. An example would be to set a date by which all unread emails need to be read, such as a 10 to 15 days. Another option would be to begin sorting emails into folders to keep them organized.

Set Aside Time Daily for Email Reading and Responding

If you have important matters communicated solely through email, a multi-day delay is not appropriate if you are failing to read what is being sent. At the same time, it is distracting to get an email in the middle of a task. Set aside designated times for reading and responding to email throughout the day.

Determine What’s “Spam” and What’s “Important”

School, work and personal email inboxes are all subject to spam. Flag those emails that you no longer want to receive in your regular inbox.

Unsubscribe from Unnecessary Mailing Lists

Mailing lists promise you discount codes, perks, and everything else and often send daily emails for products you don’t even want to buy anymore. It is important to be selective about the mailing lists you subscribe to and know when to unsubscribe(such as after receiving a discount). If you are not getting any real value from those emails, click on the very bottom of the email where it says “unsubscribe” and select when to receive emails or unsubscribe completely. Some companies offer weekly versus daily messages, which is a good option if you still want to receive a few updates from a retailer.

Overall, emails are essential during virtual learning and working remotely as they streamline communication. Keeping them organized is extremely important to stay on top of deadlines.