Modern communication heavily relies on e-mail; therefore, it is easy for e-mail to become a stressor. Our in-boxes can become cluttered by advertisements, junk e-mail, and conversations with friends; however, they are also home to important professional communications.

Inbox order.

As the online world continues to grow, so too does the amount of e-mails you will send and receive on a daily basis. Looking at and, if necessary, responding to e-mails calls for you to treat each e-mail equally. Be sure to file the e-mail under the appropriate folder, and respond in a timely manner. If an e-mail contains an important meeting, be sure to create an alert; this will allow you to remain on top of your schedule while sorting through your in-box.


  • Mark dates on calendar
  • Download attachments
  • Save new contact info
  • Place to-dos on task list


  • Be habitual and timely with responses by replying to all opened e-mails immediately.
  • No time to respond?  Take action to ensure a timely reply.

Delete it.

  • No really, once you’ve gathered and responded when required, delete it.
  • If you can’t think of a good reason to sort it, trash it.

Sort it.

  • If you absolutely must save the e-mail, create an organized folder structure.
  • We’ve included action items and folder tips below.

Take action.

  • Schedules and Alerts:
    • Create and stick to a specific e-mail schedule by practicing the following:
      • Choose 2-3 daily time slots for reading/replying to e-mail
      • Set alerts for timely e-mail replies
  • Using Folders:
    • Collect and sort e-mails in folders, naming each one to symbolize:
      • e-mail content; i.e. “receipts”
      • e-mail senders; i.e. “clients”
      • actions to take; i.e. “to sort”
  • Scheduled Maintenance:
    • Select one time slot each week for cleaning up your in-box.
  • “Reply Required” Folder:
    • Collect e-mails in need of a reply, when you can’t reply immediately.