Having email is a must these days, but do you really want to be spend your precious life drowning in it?

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives

 – Annie Dillard

Do you have hundreds of emails in your inbox? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Are you ready to close your account and start fresh?! I see the appeal, but please don’t. Email is here to stay, but we don’t have to spend SO much time in it. Take the following steps with me to clean up your inbox, feel empowered to manage it moving forward, and be free of the overwhelm!

SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.© is the 3-step organizing process that works for all the areas of your space and life, including digital. Let’s use it to clean up your inbox.

SEE IT – Take a look at where you are now. Taking the time to answer the questions below will help you consciously realize how email stress invades your life.

  • How do you feel when you look go to your inbox or even just thinking about it?
  • Do you “check” your email many times a day or do you manage it with intent?
  • What’s working? You can be specific or general.
  • What isn’t working? What don’t you like?
  • Are you able to find emails when you search?

MAP IT – Make a plan for what you want. I know you might seriously want to skip this step. Please stay with it to get the clarity you need.

  • How do you WANT to feel about email?
  • What would it be like to have less than 20 unread/unprocessed emails ongoing?
  • What would you do with 15 extra minutes per day you normally spend mindlessly checking your email?
  • Schedule 3 sessions of 15 minutes each weekday for managing your inbox and commit to “not checking it”.

DO IT – Take the steps to make it happen. Schedule time to get it done!

  • Set the stage: Put your phone on Do Not Disturb/Focus and turn on some happy tunes.
  • Create the following folders/labels in your email (simplified iRAFT for Digital):
    • READ
    • ACT
    • FILE
      • 2023 Archives
      • 2022 Archives
      • 2021-Older Archives
  • Mark ALL emails as read then move urgent emails to ACT, things you want to read to READ, and move the rest to the corresponding year ARCHIVES. This might be scary, but I promise you the only difference is they are now categorized, and you will feel different. They are all still there and searchable.
  • Take a deep breath and feel the difference.
  • Use this simple system to revisit things that need attention like READ and ACT during your 3 scheduled times per weekday. Experiment with taking weekends away from email. It’s wonderful!

Take time over a few weeks or month to stay committed to this system. Change things up as needed to be a best fit for you personally.

Here are a few strong suggestions for Keeping It Up:

  • Say no thank you to discounts that require giving your email address.
  • Say no thank you to signing up for everyone’s blogs.
  • Say no thank you to Notifications.


Your Guide, Kate Fehr. I am passionate about teaching people the skills of clutter clearing, organizing, and simplifying.