By Dale Isip

According to a 2019 survey of over 1,000 U.S. workers, the average daily time spent using email was over five hours. During the workday, this amounted to 143 minutes spent on personal emails and 209 minutes spent on work-related emails.

Since work-related emails are sent and received in a ratio of about 40 to 121 daily, finding a way to organize and prioritize an inbox may be helpful in getting back time for other things. Here are some of the best ways to organize and prioritize emails.

Organize Your Inbox

If you want to organize your email inbox, try adopting a take-charge attitude with the messages you receive. Look through your emails over the past few hours or days. Are all these messages relevant to your workday?

Some of these messages, for example, could be advertisements, software update notices, or business promotions. These regular or intermittent emails can clutter your inbox. If you can, unsubscribe immediately from these types of messages to reduce your daily email load.

You might also want to label specific messages as spam, and direct them to a spam or trash folder. There are different ways to do this depending on the email software you use – but getting a handle on spam will help your organizing efforts.

Delete and Prioritize

Some emails are work-related, but they may no longer be necessary in the immediate sense. Some messages could be from co-workers who have retired or moved on, while other email conversations may just be old or no longer relevant.

In these cases, you might want to find a way to mass-delete emails. Depending on the software you use, mass-deletions can involve deleting numerous emails from a particular sender or time period. Choose an address, date, subject, or sender, and you might be able to free your inbox of 50 to 100 (or more) messages at a time.

Once you have deleted the emails of your choice, it is time to prioritize them. This might require some personal preference. Do you like to separate your emails chronologically, by their read/unread status, or by their sender? Knowing this can give you an idea of how to separate them.

Look into how to label your emails, how to filter them, and how to make folders for different types. This will make accessing them a quick task, and working with them that much easier. The more you can divide your emails in easy-to-use sections, the better you will be.


Set Aside Time

One of the most important things to remember about organizing your work emails is that you may need to do it often. Set aside time specifically to organize your inbox daily. Though you can do this at any time, doing so once in the morning and once at the end of the day is recommended.

With daily maintenance, however, prioritizing and organizing your emails should be a worthwhile task. An organized inbox could give you time to focus on other tasks – and improve the quality of your workday.