Organizing Email Better (In 30 Minutes or Less)

new years resolutions email

Heading back to work or back into your schedule today, time to get your email under control- finally– this year. Take 30 minutes to do a few things to make your email more manageable right now.

How to Organize Email Better

  • Set a timer for either 15 or 30 minutes. Email sucks up a lot of time, and so can making changes to your email. Don’t get sidetracked while you are working on the next few steps.
  • Take a drastic step. How long do you need to keep old emails? Is there any reason to keep them longer than a week, a month, or a year? For most of us, the answer is no. If you decide you don’t want to keep old emails, then take a deep breath, highlight them, be brave, and hit the delete button.
  • If you do need to keep work-related emails, move them all into an archived folder, or a new PST for MS Outlook. This will make your computer more stable, AND you’ll instantly have a clean email box. Aaaahhh.
  • Inbox ≠ to-do list. Make sure you have a working to-do list. I like to keep mine in Toodledo, but you can keep yours on paper or electronically. Then, instead of keeping emails because you need to act, start putting your tasks in a to-do list, and delete the emails.
  • Combine, forward, close, or redirect multiple email accounts. Do you find yourself constantly saying, “Oh, I never check that email account. Can you please resend it to my current address?” Your email provider can explain how to have your old email address forwarded to the one you use all the time.
  • Unsubscribe ruthlessly. Don’t let retailers steal your time with your family (and your sanity). Just hit “unsubscribe” at the bottom of those emails. That really and truly is the way to stop getting the emails. (No, it does not produce more spam, contrary to what you’ve heard.)
  • Consider a service like Swizzle,, or Sanebox to aggregate emails into one daily digest that you can scan quickly or just delete with one click. Now, honestly, I’m not sold on this solution, because you are just handing over more data to marketers who want to market to you. But hey, if you need a lifeline, it’s worth a try.
  • Learn how to use the SEARCH function in your email app. Stop the scrolling madness, and be able to hit “search” and the name or topic you are searching for, and pinpoint what you need within seconds.

You can read more email organizing tips here. After taking just a few steps to reduce the email madness, you’ll have more time.

Remember, you probably can’t clear your email box in 30 minutes, but you can take steps to manage the new incoming mail much, much better, and not spend minutes or hours deleting or trying to organize or ignore unwanted emails.  🙂

How will you reward yourself after organizing email?

This post is part of my series, 31 days of 30-minute Organizing Projects. Be sure to subscribe for daily emails with projects you can complete in just a few minutes to start your New Year off right. New Years organizing projects, organizing email



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Michele R

    Hi Darla,
    I love the first one – set a timer and the unsubscribe. Need to do both. I also try to handle an email once. It’s either action or delete otherwise the email gets lost in the stream of emails. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Darla

      Thanks for following along, Michele. Setting a timer when going through email is a good idea, but the first tip actually referred to setting a timer so you an get through the rest of the steps. Most people are going to read this article and say, “Great ideas. I’ll try those tomorrow.” Some people will even print this article out! But if you spend the next 30 minutes unsubscribing, you’ll be ahead for the rest of the year.

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