When Dane and I packed up and moved across the country for two months this summer, we knew we would be in constant transition mode. Literally, all of our stuff was in two suitcases and the rest of it had been packed away. Because we were both transitioning remotely, every little aspect of our life was done via e-mail and online. EVERY. LITTLE. THING. Just let that sink in for a second.
I’m used to working remotely, but I wasn’t used to doing literally every task on the computer. This led to one thing that still makes me cringe when I think about it — 1,712 e-mails in my inbox when I finally got around to checking it after 5 days of packing, moving and traveling.
Excuse me while I go puke.
That’s a lot of stuff to comb through and I didn’t even ask Dane how many he had, but I imagine it was also pretty high. Once I had a chance to get down to business on my inbox, it took me no time at all to make those pesky notifications disappear. How did I do it?
Priority #1? Sort your e-mails by sender. This allows you very easily see who’s who, how many times they’ve reached out and so on. If you use GMail you can do this by typing in ‘Arrange by: From’ in the search box.
*I will say that if you’re trying to sort your mail by date, do not use this function as there are no promises on if things will stay in chronological order by date.
After that, I combed through the e-mails that had been flagged by the sender as important. I addressed those first and filed them away into their appropriate folder within my e-mail account so I could easily go back in a little bit to reply to them and not worry about deleting them by accident.
Next, I deleted every “HEY WE ARE HAVING A SALE!” e-mail from any retailers. Because I had sorted everything by sender, it was fairly easy to delete them en mass and I knew I had most likely missed the sale anyhow.
The sort also made it easy to delete mail that was clearly spam or junk. You know, like those random e-mails for male enhancement products. Tell me I’m not the only one who gets those?!
When I looked at what was left that I had deemed important enough to keep and take a secondary look at — there were only 150 e-mails. They were largely client e-mails, blog comments or TLDR (too long, didn’t read) type notes that required a phone call instead of a lengthy e-mail reply.
One thing that saved me big time throughout this whole process was setting my automatic reply e-mail for one day longer than I really needed. This gave me a full 24 hours of grace to get my ducks in marching order before tackling things without people being like…HEY! HELLO! WE ARE WAITING!
I’m always looking for ways to make my life easier, so feel free to share your own favorite home office hacks in the comments 🙂