How to Clean Your Inbox

The Lean, Mean Inbox Machine

Whip the clutter into shape
a clean inbox

A Clean Inbox

Efficient use of your inbox will save you money in more ways than one.  An overburdened email stash consisting of mass mailings, newsletters, client correspondence, press invites and personal chit-chat is worse than just an intimidating mess – it is certainly wasting your time and could even be losing you clients!  Fortunately, an organized Virtual Assistant like myself can turn this online dogpile into a direct task list for both of us.

To begin to quash that dragon called Overwhelm, I begin by creating a listing of what really is coming in.  There will most likely be entries both of personal and business natures, individually-sent emails and mass mailings, back-and-forths from old clients and inquiries from potential new clients… a catalog that is far less intimidating when spelled out.

As your Virtual Assistant, my next priority is to create your inbox filing system. I open each message, create appropriate and logical labels based on how you do business, and fill the necessary folders.  The labels and folders will vary from client to client and via my conversations with you, I quickly become attuned to your specific needs.  While one client may wish to cease subscription to all mass-mailings, even field-specific, another client may feel more comfortable stashing these newsletters in a folder to be perused at his or her leisure.  Most important is to make sure those incoming client emails are easy to see and quick to find.  They are your income and as such, shouldn’t be getting lost in the shuffle.

Once I have squared away all the groundwork, your virtual inbox is neat as a pin and ready to go.  We then hit the maintenance level.  (Do I hear cheers?  I should!)  This is where you (client) and me (Virtual Assistant) work together to keep this area clutter-free.  Work out how often your Virtual Assistant should weed through your inbox, assigning each item its proper folder, starring items that need to be dealt with right away.  These can even be color-coded, in some programs, delineating one color for the client and another for the VA.  Once an item is taken care of, it is neatly banished to its folder, and the dragon, Overwhelm, has been put to rest.

Submission by Aviela