email inbox

Having a plan to organize my email inbox helps reduce my stress levels so I can be more productive and present in other ways. I was reading about it and came across a helpful blog on “Inbox Zero” that has helped me over the past several years (Davies, 2022). I hope you’ll join me in trying:

  1. Right now – create FOUR FOLDERS in your inbox: Action Required, Awaiting Response, Delegated, and Archived.
  2. As you receive emails, file them into these four folders, leaving your inbox CLEAR!
    • Action Required – emails requiring completion of a task or a follow up
    • Awaiting Response – emails expecting important responses to
    • Delegated – emails we have delegated to others
    • Archived – emails we want out of our inbox without deleting entirely
  3. Follow these rules:
    • Delegate – am I the best person to handle this?
    • Respond – can I respond in two minutes or less? If so, respond and then delete or archive email.
    • Defer – will it take longer than two minutes? Place in action required.
    • Do – can we complete the task in two minutes? If yes, then respond.

Once you get your email account set up, here are three things to keep in mind:

  • 20% of emails will consume 80% of your time. Quickly deal with the 80%, if possible. Then focus on the others.
  • Less is more in emails…use bullet points. No need for long paragraphs, if applicable.
  • Be honest with yourself about priorities; set realistic time expectations. Learn when to say no to achieve inbox zero!

I hope these tips will help you organize your email inbox and relieve some stress so you can focus more on teaching and establishing positive relationships with your students!


Davies, C. (2022). Four Unique Strategies for Reaching Inbox Zero. Retrieved December 12, 2022 from,awaiting%20reply%20in%20your%20inbox