Email. Both the best and possibly worst thing to arrive in our lives. Sam Sparrow’s wicked tips will help you master and organise your inbox like a boss.

I remember getting that very first email account in 6th form with the .sch.uk address circa 2000. 17 years later and I’m still using email constantly and more than I ever did before. But I hate it. My inbox gets into a pickle the second I turn my back and I feel a slave to my iPhone lest that all important mail from someone, well, all important comes through. I’ve got a work Blackberry too. My work inbox isn’t much cop either.

So what’s a girl to do?

I no longer want that sinking feeling when you return to your email after being off work for even a day.

I no longer wasn’t to cry when I see my unread alerts go in to 3 figures. And Christ do I want to tackle spam. So I’ve followed these simple steps to get a seriously swanky inbox – perhaps they’ll work for you too?

1. Delete, delete, delete

If you want a super tidy inbox, you are going to have to get ruthless. An email inbox shouldn’t be used for over excessive storage of everything you’ve received since you set up your princesscupcakes1990 email in 2004. No. It needs to be reserved for just new and important stuff.

Look at it this way – if you kept every single thing ever sent to you in the post, most likely your home would be overflowing with paper that could rival trees from a rainforest, and most of it will be shit, pizza leaflets or out of date. You see? So start from the beginning and clear it out. I never said it would be easy.

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2. File away

If you are desperate to keep some emails, or need to have emails on file in your inbox, it is time to get a system. Just like in the real world, filing works.

You can set up important folders with all you need. For example, I have a shopping folder where I put notifications of stuff I’ve bought online in case there is a problem, an urgent reply folder I can move things to and reply when I get a chance to be at my desk and a travel folder for all my e-tickets and schedules.

Do what works for you and review it regularly.

Organise Your Inbox

3. Stop getting crap email

Now you’ve got a beautiful zen-like inbox, you don’t want to leave it a week and watch it fill up with rubbish. We’ve all signed up to stuff that we barely read or that gets sent straight to trash or worse – stays there unread, so much so that we miss the actual important stuff. So make a decision to unsubscribe from non-essential, unliked email services.

Think daily shopping deals, social media notifications, e-newsletters or just crap you can’t remember signing up for. Spend a week consciously analysing and unsubscribing from what comes in to your inbox, and you’ll feel much better.

You can actually use an amazing service like Unroll.me to gather all your subscriptions into a single daily digest if you are having problems parting company with the New Look weekly email. We feel you.

4. Filter it

Remember those awesome folders you set up? Well now it is time to get your email to do the hard work for you.

Most email programmes will let you set up auto filters so that as soon as an email arrives, it will get sent to one of your designated folders. For example you could have a VIP folder in which certain contacts emails always get filed to, or if like me you get your payslips by email, you can have them go in to your work folder.

4 steps to organise your inbox

It is easy to do – you can either set up the rule using the email address or you can click on the email and add the filter that way. Takes less than a minute.

These simple steps can transform a busy inbox to something more calming and less stress inducing. How do you organise your inbox?

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