You are a young professional. You are trying to succeed at your job and also in life. You make it through the work day just fine, yet come home and make yourself some boxed mac-n-cheese for dinner. There’s nothing wrong with that. You are a young professional.
As a young professional myself, I learned early on that a key to succeeding is staying organized. Sure, it’s easy to organize your desk. It’s even easier to organize your schedule (shout out to Google calendar), but people often neglect organizing their emails. But responding late to an important email can really hurt your value as an employee. With email being such a popular form of communication in the workplace, it is super important you be checking it often.
Here are some tips I have found very helpful with staying on top of emails.
1. Set up desktop notifications
If I’m being honest, my desktop notifications somehow were automatically set up when I updated my operating system. I delayed turning the function off for a few days out of pure laziness and now I can’t live without it! You really get used to the pop-ups and if you have your volume off, you won’t have to listen to the annoying beep/ding/noise when the notification flys onto your screen.
These desktop notifications preview the email for you so you know if it’s urgent. It’s super helpful to have so you don’t have to be checking your inbox every few minutes.
2. Create countless inbox folders
This is the best advice I can give. Create folders like It’s your job. Because it kind of is.
Create a folder for everything/everyone. Make a folder for your supervisor so you can keep track of your conversations with them. Make a folder for each sender you get. Seriously. It may sound extreme but once you have all your emails organized into folders, it will help you prioritize what emails you should answer first and which ones can wait. This trick will also help you keep your inbox close to empty so you aren’t overwhelmed with 300+ emails in your main inbox.
3. Set up your email on your phone
I’m not saying you have to check your emails on nights & weekend. Your emails can wait, you have Netflix to watch. I get it.
But having your email readily available on your phone means you can check important emails on your lunch break or after hours if you so choose. Let’s say you get an important email on your lunch break but you’re away from your desk. If you have your email enabled on your phone, you can send a quick response letting the person know they will be hearing back from you shortly. Letting someone know you will get back to them within the hour helps them feel like you care. It’s important.
4. Don’t sign up for any promotions with your professional email
We’ve all been there. You want free shipping on that sweater you’ve been eyeing for months, so you sign up for the newsletter with your work email. Then a few days goes by and you forget to unsubscribe from the aforementioned newsletter. Now you’re getting junk emails in your inbox.
If you do subscribe to something with your work email, just unsubscribe as soon as you get an email from them. It will help de-clutter your inbox from unwanted emails.
5. Delete unnecessary emails as soon as they come in
This one can be difficult to do. I know you don’t want to be checking your emails all day, that’s a waste of time, right? Sort of.
While desktop notifications and labeled folders will help you stay organized so you DON’T have to check your inbox 24/7, you should still check it often. I usually check it when I see there are 3 or more emails in my inbox. It takes one second to either delete an email or put it in its corresponding folder. If you do this often, then you won’t be stuck organizing your emails for 30 minutes at the end of your workday.
6. Take a look at your “Drafts” folder often
I’m pretty good at sending emails as soon as I write them, but I know not everyone excels in that area. If you’re a person that starts writing an email then gets distracted by something else, you’re going to want to check your Drafts folder often. This prevents you from accidently forgetting to send an email, because you thought you had sent it.
7. Same goes for your spam folder
Check your spam folder often just in case something important gets sent there.
I honestly don’t know why or how this happens but it’s happened to me. At the very least, check the folder if you are missing an email a co-worker has said they sent. You don’t want to be that person that says you never got the email even though it was just sitting there in your spam folder, patiently waiting for you to find it.
8. Set up email filters
This saves you SO much time. I put off doing this for awhile since I feel checking my inbox often keeps me on top of things. But setting up filters for certain sendors has proven to be MEGA helpful. For example, if you know you get a lot of emails from the office manager daily, set up a filter so all of that person’s emails automatically get sent to the inbox folder with their name on it. You can check their folder when you see 3+ emails in it, but no sooner. Such a good invention. Here is an article that explains how to set up these filters.