5 tips to help you organize your email

Reading time: 10 minutes

In 2020 there were 306 billion emails sent and received each day worldwide. Experts generally agree that a person sends and receives 121 business emails each day. The best time to send an email is between 10-11 am.  The average professional spends 28% of the workday reading and answering email, according to a McKinsey analysis. For the average full-time worker in America, that amounts to a staggering 2.6 hours spent per day. Jan. 22, 2019

It is no wonder that you are so distracted by e-mail that you can’t get anything done. Here are 5 tips to help you manage your email communications.

1.  Turn off the audio reminder of e-mail arriving in your inbox so you won’t be distracted from the task you are trying to complete.

2. Set aside two or three specific times of the day to check your e-mail and respond to quick items with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  Schedule, in your agenda, longer e-mails to be answered when you have more time.

3.  Cut down on those 121 emails by reducing the number of lists and newsletters you subscribe to.  They are just like magazines that lie around waiting to be read and creating a feeling of stress in you.

4.  Keep your inbox as empty as possible by creating folders to store receipts, orders, invitations, information etc.  Search functions do work well for finding old emails, leaving them all in your inbox means you spend time re-reading emails.

5.  Don’t respond to e-mails from companies and people you don’t know.  Don’t respond to any e-mail asking for or giving you money.

The average professional spends 2.6 hours each day on approximately 120 emails. Share on X

Share your best tip that helps you use email productively.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

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  1. Seana Turner on August 16, 2021 at 9:40 am

    That is a LOT of emails, Julie! Where did you get that statistic? I’d love to use that in something I’m working on. In spite of the texts and messages, email is still around, right? It needs to be dealt with for sure.

    • Julie Stobbe on August 16, 2021 at 4:17 pm

      I googled a number of sources for email statistics and they were all around the same number about 100/day, https://www.lifewire.com/how-many-emails-are-sent-every-day-1171210. For myself, if I leave email until the end of the day I have about 60. For me I have all my messages from Twitter, Linked In Facebook Instagram sent to my email so I only have to go to one place for most of the messages sent to me. I used to miss the ones sent to my FB Inbox not anymore they arrive in my email

  2. Linda Samuels on August 16, 2021 at 11:38 am

    What staggering stats about the number of emails flying from inbox to inbox! I like your tips, which are all so useful.

    I do have a question or dilemma about #5. I receive a large number of emails from people and companies I don’t know. They include offers for products, requests to submit guest posts, requests to contribute to a media post or interview, potential client inquiries, and requests for money.

    Most of these I’m clear about. I answer all media inquiries and potential client requests. And while I might know them, they are often in the “don’t know” category.

    With products emails, I don’t usually respond—no need to.

    But for the request to write guest posts, I am not as clear. Depending upon the nature of the ask and if they even use my name, I might politely respond that “we don’t accept guest posts.” But I know other bloggers that never respond. Your thoughts?

    • Julie Stobbe on August 16, 2021 at 4:23 pm

      I respond to guest blog post requests for one simple reason to show that my business takes requests seriously and responds politely and in a timely manner. That is how I want my email requests to be handled. I don’t want to waste their time sending me 3 requests about the same thing that I have to skim to ignore. If they don’t respect my reply then I tag them as a blocked email address.

      • Linda Samuels on August 16, 2021 at 6:43 pm

        That’s a great boundary and makes a lot of sense.

        It sounds like with #5, you don’t have a hard and fast rule, then. I am that way. If it’s an obvious ‘junk’ email or not personalized in any way, and it’s from an unknown source, I’m OK to delete it without responding. But I agree that sometimes a polite “no thank you…best of success” is appropriate and works well.

  3. Katherine Macey on August 16, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Tip #3 is the best! It’s so easy to accidentally subscribe to something (or have it automatically done for you), cluttering up your inbox with offer after offer.

    The “unsubscribe” button is your best friend!

    • Julie Stobbe on August 16, 2021 at 4:18 pm

      Unsubscribe is my friend too. Sometimes it is very hard to see in a small script and light colour.

  4. Janet Barclay on August 16, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    Some days I’m sure I get more than 100 emails, so that number doesn’t surprise me (though it does amaze me).

    Last week I was very disciplined and just ignored some non-urgent emails I wanted to respond to. By the end of the week they were stressing me out, so I answered them all at once and it took next to no time. I will try and do that more often!

    • Julie Stobbe on August 16, 2021 at 4:10 pm

      Great system to bundle those non-urgent emails and answer them all at once. I think after you do it for a while, leaving them for later, you will begin to feel less stressed with them sitting around for a short amount of time. Let me know if you can keep it up or if you change the system.

  5. Lucy Kelly on August 16, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Now we have texts to alert us to emergencies, I’ve learned to tame my emails by not looking at them until I’ve completed my morning routine and am ready to respond to them. Not even seeing them until that time but knowing that time is set aside helps me keep email in its place. Oh, and I unsubscribe to anything if I ignore it or snooze it more than once. I’m just not going to read that article or watch that webinar if I don’t do it that week, so I let it go. Everything comes around again 🙂

  6. Janet Schiesl on August 17, 2021 at 5:47 am

    Eliminating all the marketing emails is so effective in decluttering your inbox. It only takes a few minutes once a month, but it works.

    • Julie Stobbe on August 17, 2021 at 2:33 pm

      I agree. Unsubscribing or tagging them to go to junk folder helps reduce the number of emails you see.

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