How to organize your email & not feel so overwhelmed

How to organize your email & not feel so overwhelmed

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Almost 20 years in corporate has taught me a lot about life.

One thing is for sure, emails can become an overwhelming avalanche.

As an executive program manager over multi-million dollar programs I learned that if you do not actively and efficiently manage your email inbox IT WILL BURY you faster than you can say SNOWBALL!

It was NOT uncommon for me to get in excess of 600 emails a day! That’s right, in a day!


So how does one manage that much email and not drop the ball?

There are lots of ways to organize your emails. I’ll give you my favorite tips. ALL of these tips have one thing in common; you have to CONSISTENTLY manage the emails this way, or any way in order for it to work!  


First things first, general inquiries.

These are NEW potential clients. These are your bread and butter. You did something right to get their attention. First thing is IMMEDIATELY respond to them and add them to your contacts/marketing list (in excel or a sales program).

Don’t lose them and every time you have a special, a mini session to market or just a friendly “hey don’t forget me” to send out to your contacts make sure they are part of that forever. They can and will convert into customers that way! A fish won’t bite a hook with no bait!  


Next is set up a folder structure.

Identify a logical way to segregate your emails/data in a way that matches your workflow for your business and ensures that you can easily locate items when you need to call on them. Remember time IS money so the more efficient you are the more likely you are to spend your time doing what you love!

For photography I will share my folder structure which I use for both email I receive and emails I send! I use the following folders as subfolders under my inbox; Inquiries, Quotes, Follow Ups, Contracts Pending, Contracts Completed, References, Referrals, Marketing & Sales, Vendors, Business Receipts, Business Invoices, Feedback, URGENT.

The titles don’t matter. What matters is you find a system that works for you.

Every email you receive should immediately be worked and filed.  If you don’t have time to work it; keep your inbox clean and place it under URGENT if it requires action so you don’t lose track of it.  

With our busy lives and variation in schedules, emails and texts have taken the place of phone calls and in person visits. Emails are our primary source of communication and our face to our customer.

Also consider branding every email you send with a closure line that includes contact information, website and your logo. Make them remember you.

Don’t give them the opportunity to forget you. Keep yourself in their inbox and in their mind. If you are efficient and customers can see you are they are more likely to see your professionalism and chose you. 

So remember:

  1. Respond to and file general inquiries immediately
  2. Establish a folder system to separate by subject
  3. File every email upon receipt to keep the inbox clean
  4. Use your information to keep your business flow moving and convert inquiries to clients!


Article Written By Lyndsay Cooler    

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