Do you ever feel like your mailbox is completely out of control? Untameable? Doomed? Mine often gets this way. I’m firmly in the “Never delete anything” camp. And that makes things very difficult in the long run.
The thing is, there’s a very good reason to kill this habit. GDPR. You’ll know that there’s going to be a heap of personal data stored in that mailbox of yours. Data that you probably have no business reason to be keeping after a certain point in time. But identifying and finding that data? It will be a job taking a week or a month or longer to sort through it all.
An idea that I put into practice a few years back was to quickly sort through my old emails and achieve the holy grail of “Inbox Zero” was to create some folders for the last couple of years. So “2018” and “2019”, and then grab all of the emails from those years and stick them into their respective folders.
Anything older, I simply deleted, I surely don’t need anything going back further.
Next, I set myself a reminder for a few months in the future. The reminder is that if I’ve not accessed the emails from the 2018 folder within three months’ time, delete that folder too.
2019 could be a bit trickier, there’s every possibility that I might still need those emails, but at least now it will be easy for me to get rid of them all when the time passes and I’ll know I’ve not touched the folder for many months.
Next, I created a few other folders. My structure included folders for:
I’ll create new sub-folders as needed. So perhaps adding a “sales” folder, though I would think that any sales related mails should go straight into a CRM system really.
Now, when I’ve dealt with an incoming email, I decide if I need to keep it for future reference, in which case it gets filed in one of the “Keep” subfolders. Anything else will be immediately deleted.
My mailbox is now so much easier to manage and not cluttered with thousands of advertising emails which I’ve failed to delete.
Better still, I am not now keeping emails full of personal information that I have no legal basis to be storing.
How do you organise your emails?