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Best Way to Organize Your Email Inbox for Administrative Professionals? – Ask an Admin

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Welcome to another question for Ask an Admin. This is where the administrative assistant and executive assistant can submit any question they have and their peers will answer the question based on their previous experience. We believe that there are many different ways to approach problems, difficult tasks, and situations so we thought this would be a great way to provide you a place to share your input as well as receive input from others. So, executive assistants and administrative assistants from around the world, let’s help each other out!

Autumn J. asks us:

Good morning,

I’m always curious how other administrative professionals organize and manage their email inboxes. What are your best tips?

Kind regards

Another good question! Organization of email inboxes can be tricky especially if you are the assistant to a few executives. Well, let’s hear it, administrative assistants. Tell us what you think executive assistants. We need to help Autumn out!

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3 thoughts on “Best Way to Organize Your Email Inbox for Administrative Professionals? – Ask an Admin”

  1. We work with Outlook. I’ve setup a folder called “Favorites” and have the following sub folders: “Task Items”, “Not Reviewed Yet”, “Talk to Boss”, “Read Later”, “Waiting”, “File It”, and “Trash Later”.

    When I receive an email, I select that email and drag it to my “To-Do Bar” in Outlook and it allows me to categorize that specific email. My categories are: “A. TODAY”, “B. TO DO”, “C. TO DO LATER”, “D. PROJECTS”, “E.WAITING”, “F.WAITING FOR BOSS”, “G. MEETINGS TO SCHEDULE”.

    Then I can place that email into one of the sub folders I have setup.

    So in essence I have the email in the proper sub folder but also added to my “To-Do Bar”.

    1. I really do miss having Outlook—your email reminded me how much I LOVED using it in a former position. G-mail just doesn’t have the same flexibility (or maybe I haven’t learned it yet?).

  2. We have G-mail and I use all five of the inboxes allowed: primary, social, promotions, updates, forums. You can “train” your email which one to go in but doing a highlight & drag movement from where it ends up (if wrong) into one of the others. So I’ve got all my “real” email coming into Primary. All of my EA emails go into Forums. What I consider “junk” mail goes into Promotions, and all my Google/Gmail reminders goes into Updates.

    Also I have a whole mess of “folders” (Gmail doesn’t call them folders, but in my mind–they’re folders) which I’ve used ordered by numbers/letters to get them lined up on the sidebar. Also using symbols * ^ can help order them, too . . . AND I have a date system for some of the recurring events (I work at a school)….so I use the yearmonthdate & then a very short description, for example: 20190801 Registration (when this one is past, I simply change the year to the coming year which pushes it to the bottom of the stack and out of the way for more current projects.

    I also have folders labeled with “actions” such as * Read or * Follow up or * Principal …. and others that are handled daily but I want out of my inbox (Absences, Childcare, Facility Use) but need to retain in case there’s blow-back or for reference for billing.

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