Email Tips for Your Inbox: The Best Tools for Staying Organized, Productive, and Efficient


By Rachel Moran

Have you ever woken up, checked your email, and wondered how things got so out of control? With the help of these email tips, you can get in charge of your inbox every day. No more never-ending back-and-forth, digging for emails you need now, or wondering if the spam will ever stop. Your email inbox really can be easy to manage.

Forget Inbox Zero. Ongoing email convos are part of life these days. Don’t worry about trying to have zero emails. Instead, recalibrate your goal. Maybe it’s zero unread or maybe it’s Inbox (20).

Mark As Read. It might seem like cheating, but you can drop that number of unread emails with a simple browser or email extension. In Gmail, you can get to this under Settings > Labs on your desktop or laptop. You might still need to take action on an email, but the psychological stress of hundreds of unread emails can be gone with a few clicks.

Sync Your Email Addresses. Even if you have three email addresses, send them all to one place. Maybe you want everything to go to your iPhone or to a single Gmail address. Use the settings in each address to forward messages where it’s easiest to get them—probably your phone, which means picking the app you like best on your device. You might find other useful email tips in your settings, too.

Get Rid of the Spam. This is partially done when you upgrade your email provider, but you can get even better results by marking spam when you see it. Don’t open it, don’t unsubscribe—just hit the spam button within your email provider and say buh-bye.

Unsubscribe from Email Lists. If you use Mail on an iPhone, it’s easy to unsubscribe using the text link at the top of marketing messages. You can also use a third-party service like, which is free for email users. Grab a stylus and start unsubscribing. By doing this, you’ll get the deals you want from the brands you love in your email inbox and nothing else.

See Who Reads Your Emails. Tired of wondering if your email was even read? Start getting read receipts. With a service like Boomerang, you don’t need to stress about putting extra work on your recipient, either.

Get Follow-Up Reminders. Boomerang helps with follow-ups, too. The service will boomerang emails back to you if you don’t get a reply within the time frame you specified. Now, you don’t have to remind yourself to check up on why you didn’t get a read receipt—the service does it for you.

Set Up Filters. Need all of your kid’s school notices in one place? Try using filters. They’re so advanced now that you can send an email straight to archive or a unique folder and apply Mark As Read to it automatically. You won’t have to worry about seeing these emails in your inbox—or seeing unread notifications for them—but you’ll know how to find them when you need them.

Write Better Emails. Get what you want upfront in the first sentence. Write subject lines that are helpful at a first glance. That way people will reply the way you need them to, without the go-nowhere conversations.

With these simple email tips, your inbox can be a useful place where you get the info you need, when you need it.

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