With all the emails that you receive every day, it is a good idea to categorize everything you receive to more easily process them throughout a typical working day:
No reply needed and not important
Either archive or delete them! If it’s a newsletter you never read, click the unsubscribe link. If some of the information is really important, then trust that it will come to you in another way such as from your personal network.
File away for future reference
Some examples include tax receipts, great email marketing and information that will be useful to you at a later date. Create folders for these, but don’t go over the top with the categorization. You want to make it easy for you to find these types of emails again, so make the folder structure as simple as possible.
You don’t need to respond, but it is good manners if you do and will make you look more professional.
Read another time
You don’t have to read the email, but it would be nice to. Practice putting as many emails as possible into this category in order to increase your overall productivity.
Needs a response today
Prioritize these over all other emails. Either respond in the moment or ensure that you do it at the end of the workday when you are clearing out your inbox.
Needs a response but not today
If an email doesn’t require an immediate response, then place it in a folder named after the day you wish to respond (Monday, Tuesday etc.) then on the day, go into that folder. There are some tools you can use to aid you in this such as FollowUp.cc and FollowUpThen.com that allow you to create different checklists.
If you’re not sure what to do with an email, then just use one of the above categories. It’s probably the first two.