Death By Inbox: How Keep Your Email Organized

September 6, 2017 by Jeff Heidelberg

I was sitting in a lecture hall in college. For extra points, students could volunteer and give a small presentation of their final paper as a preview to the professor and as an opportunity to get feedback before submitting the assignment.

A student volunteers and asks if he can pull up his presentation off of his email. The professor gladly gives him the keyboard so he can sign into his email. What happens next still shocks me to this day. No it was not a juicy email from a Not Safe for School website, nor was it the answers to the next exam.

Next to his inbox were the numbers 3,514. He had three thousand five hundred and fourteen unread emails in his inbox. My skin crawled, my blood curdled, my ancestors arose from the dead as I sat there in disbelief that someone could let their emails pile up like that.

Emails have become the norm of communication. It allows us to respond at our leisure and attach files that may be pertinent to the conversation. However much like our houses, a clean and organized inbox is a happy inbox.

Set A Personal Limit

Think of yourself as a thermostat. If you have your thermostat set to 72 degrees, it will click on only when your indoor temperature rises above 72 degrees. What is your number of emails you can have in your inbox without feeling stressed or overwhelmed? For me it is 20. Of course I like having less than 20 read emails in my inbox however when busy season strikes, I can sit comfortably at this number without feeling the need to clean.

Once you find your number, stick to it. When your inbox climbs over your personal limit it is time to organize and clean. Failure to do so will result in you falling down the slippery slope of more and more emails.

Respond By Type

It may be more straightforward to respond in order that they came in however I feel it is easier to be in the flow when you respond by category. Some categories can include wedding websites (The Knot, Wedding Wire), existing customers, potential customer inquiries and vendor to vendor emails.

I find that in those categories, most emails have a similar structure. More than likely you might send some packaging info or ask for an appointment time with potential customers while you may be answering simple questions with existing customers. By responding by category you can essentially “copy and paste” the same ideas from email to email until that category is done.

Archive, Archive, Archive

The archive button is one of my favorites in Gmail. Your messages are not deleted, they are simply added to the folder that corresponds to the label on the email. This allows you to pull up past conversations without letting them sit in the inbox. Gmail has a 30 day trash policy where if you trash an email, it will be automatically deleted in 30 days. Great for keeping a low inbox, bad for pulling up past conversations.


Since email is a cornerstone to communication, you might as well enjoy it while you use it. Having a rush of anxiety when you look at your phone or computer is never fun. Also you will be surprised at the satisfaction of having an inbox of zero. Ahhh the feeling organization!

Jeff Heidelberg Jeff Heidelberg (10 Posts)

Jeff Heidelberg currently lives in his hometown of Cincinnati, OH. From an early age, he enjoyed entertaining his family members with jokes, dance moves and whatever he thought was funny. This passion for entertainment carried on as he began working as a costumed character at Kings Island, an amusement park located north of Cincinnati. His love for DJing began after buying a Numark Mixtrack off of his friend in college. Mesmerized by the plethora of special effects and “scratching” aka Jeff moving his hand furiously on a live deck he began playing at local parties and charity events. Jeff is currently a Sales Rep, DJ and Master of Ceremonies for Party Pleasers Services in Cincinnati, OH.

Filed Under: DJing Weddings, Mobile DJ Business, Mobile DJ Career Development, Mobile DJ Performance Tips, Mobile DJ Sales & Marketing