Tips for keeping a tidy Inbox

My inbox is like big dumpster of emails and lately, it's been bothering me that it takes a long time to find stuff.

What do you guys do to keep your inboxes organized? Looking for some tips and tricks beyond some common sense stuff.


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Comments (18)

Feb 8, 2019

Deal folders, hella sub-folders, auto-filing macros

Feb 8, 2019

Auto filtering Macros?? Game changer. Best practices?

Feb 12, 2019

Project names are usually unique so you can create a rule that moves stuff from e.g. Project Macadamia to that folder in the inbox; you just have to make sure to follow up to read it.

Also never let any newsletters or all-bank emails hit your inbox. Daily/weekly updates, Axios stuff, etc. just filter all of that. It's a huge distraction and will take you out of the flow.

Finally, CTRL + SHIFT + V keyboard shortcut to move the selected email(s). Stop using the mouse in banking!

Feb 8, 2019

Lots of organized folders, sub-folders, and filters. And spending 45 minutes a week just doing a quick manual cleanup of things I may have missed that didn't filter properly.

Most Helpful
Feb 8, 2019

For every email you get, apply the following rules:
1. Respond if it takes less than 2 minutes or is super urgent -> then archive
2. Takes more than 2 minutes, but not urgent: drag and drop into your agenda -> archive the email
3. No response required: archive if you will need it in the future or delete

For emails you send out for which you expect a response: put yourself in BCC and make a separate folder for those emails. Check daily if you received a response.

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Feb 8, 2019

The last two sentences of your post are money. SB'd.

I paid for SimplyFile my first week and have never regretted it. If your firm has painfully limited Outlook storage, this is a no brainer.

Feb 9, 2019

Never thought of the BCC trick. Amazing. SB'd.

Feb 8, 2019

Not in IB, but always curious what email service everyone has. Previous firm uses Office 365, current firm uses G Suite. I find the Google tagging more efficient (vs Microsoft's folders). Better search capabilities, and the same message can have multiple tags (vs the need to BCC in Outlook). Nerdy, but it's what gets me off sometimes.

Feb 8, 2019

We use Office.... I hate it.

Feb 8, 2019

Like others said, create folders and sub folders and then maximize the use of rules so keywords like project names are automatically filed.

Feb 11, 2019

I'm going to go against the grain here - I never auto filter except for daily / weekly update emails. Everything else I have go into my inbox and then I file as needed. Primarily had folders by deal, and then subfolders for admin, model-related, buyer outreach, marketing materials related, etc.

Find not auto filtering forces me to read things / deal with them quickly. I use my inbox as an outstanding items folder, so until it's out of my inbox that means there's an action item for that. Had a "Random Projects" folder by year as well. Pretty effective and I'm definitely a "get the inbox to 0" type of guy.

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Feb 12, 2019

Seconded. Tried auto, and there's also a problem where you might not notice emails that get auto-filtered right away - especially if it goes to a folder within a folder within a folder....

Feb 11, 2019

First, make a "News" or "Read Later" email inbox and as those times of emails come in make a rule to always move "from XXX Sender" into that folder. I find that take a lot of emails out of hitting the direct Inbox which is nice.

Then, as others have said, make a ton of different deal folders & sub folder as necessary so that old projects have a home.

This might be controversial, but then I normally have one or two current folders that start with an "@" so that I can move my most important few projects out of my inbox and to the top of my email folders. Once you are done, just file it away in its proper home.

The inbox I try to not have more than a few emails in it that are things that are urgent.

Good luck

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Feb 11, 2019

Is it frowned upon to not tidy up your email with folders and subfolders?

I actually prefer to not use that and think of my emails chronologically. But I also don't want to be seen as unorganized

Feb 12, 2019

Yes, it is frowned upon. Your MD will access your email client every morning before you get to the office and make a note of how disorganized/how many unread emails you have, and use that as the main input in your bonus calculation.

Feb 12, 2019

Yes, it is frowned upon. Your MD will access your email client every morning before you get to the office and make a not of how disorganized/how many unread emails you have. Those notes are used as the main input in your bonus calculation.

Feb 12, 2019

I use "Conversation" mode in my Outlook. This groups all emails in a specific chain together so you can see every email in one spot instead of having to hunt for different branches of the same thread. It's helpful to me because I can quickly reference old emails with attachments or double check that certain emails were forwarded / responded to when I get frantic emails from partners or 3rd parties asking for updates on different workstreams. It has saved my ass more than once being able to open outlook and immediately point to my reply when someone asks where we are on x, y, or z.

This isn't for everyone, but it has simplified my workflow and made things much easier to track for me.

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Feb 12, 2019