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3 Tips to Spring Clean Your Inbox

After a year of very few events, many event pros are gearing up for a busy 2021 season as we approach the recovery stage of the pandemic. However, for some, it might require some spring cleaning first to dust off the cobwebs of stagnancy.

If you’re ready to freshen up your business and prepare for the year ahead, a good place to start is by organizing your approach to client interactions. For many, this means finally turning a light on that inbox that has been bursting at the seams and always making you feel like you’re a few steps behind. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

This year, commit to clearing out your emails once and for all and finally implementing some strategies that will keep your inbox efficient and low-maintenance. It might feel like a grueling task at first, but rest assured the ease of your email communications is well worth it. Less time sifting through a disorganized inbox means more time spent on the profit-generating aspects of your business. 

Here are a few tips to help you kick your inbox into gear and adopt lifelong email habits to increase efficiency and productivity:

Create your virtual filing cabinet.

A cohesive hierarchy of folders and subfolders is the key to successful email organization. Consider your email account like a filing cabinet with folders that help you to find any given document quickly and easily. How that looks will vary by person, but most people opt for annual folders (i.e. 2019, 2020, 2021, etc.) or categorical folders (i.e. Payroll, Client Work, Finances, etc.). 

Naturally, many of these top-level folders should be broken down into subfolders as needed, like client-specific folders to keep all of your work in one place. When you have a reliable system in place, you’ll feel comfortable filing away each and every email once it has been addressed which will keep our inbox clean and filled only with action items left to be done.

Purge your inbox.

If you have hundreds—or thousands—of emails cluttering up your inbox, you’ll need to set aside some time to focus strictly on filing every important message you want to archive. The rest should be deleted. Depending on the size of your inbox, you might have to do this over several sittings. Fortunately, once you get through it the first time, it will be much easier to triage your inbox each time you log on to check new emails. 

While you’re running through your emails, be mindful of the subscriptions that do not add value to your life. Promotional emails junk up your inbox and take up mental space, even if you’re sending them straight to the trash unread. Go ahead and unsubscribe to anything that no longer serves you and enjoy the breath of fresh air. Make it a quarterly habit to audit your email subscriptions to ensure that your inbox is filled only with important, valuable content.

Use your inbox like a to-do list.

When you get into the habit of deleting unnecessary emails and filing those that have been addressed, the only emails left in your inbox will be those that still need attention. This essentially turns your inbox into an ongoing to-do list that holds you accountable to responsiveness. With a glance, you can get an idea of how long each email will take to handle and respond. 

For those who use a project or time management tool, it’s as simple as logging those into your daily tasks and blocking out your schedule to address each one. If you use Gmail, you can take it a step further with the “Tasks” feature and turn each email into an active to-do on your plate. This is a great way to ensure nothing slips through the cracks without your due attention.

Email management might not be as fun or exciting as design projects and client meetings, but it is essential for a streamlined business. A business cannot thrive and grow if its bogged down in unread emails and spam. Once you get your inbox into gear, you’ll be ready to put your best foot forward no matter your goals.

Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. She was recently recognized by Special Events in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series.

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Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. She was recently recognized by Special Events in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series.

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