Inbox Overflowing?

Perhaps this post would better titled as "Confessions of an Email Hoarder" because that's exactly what it felt like every time I opened my school email over the years!

But now that's all in the past.

Thanks to four easy steps, I've whittled my inbox down to one of the most beautiful sight a teacher can behold:
And though I know there are so many of you who are way more organized than I am, I wanted to share what has worked for me...just in case there is a fellow email hoarder out there ;)

Step One: Answer Anything You Can Immediately
If there's any email I can respond to right away, I do. I scan my inbox for parent and administration emails and take care of those quickly. 

If I answer emails from my administration or colleagues right away, I delete them. This clears a lot of mail very quickly! For parent emails, well, that leads me to the next step...

Step Two: File in Folders
Folders are wonderful for all of those emails you would like to keep throughout the school year:
I have folders set up for parent emails, assessment information, EL student information, professional development, and more (as you can see above).

This keeps my inbox empty of those emails I don't need right at the moment, but will need in the future.

Step 3: Flag Emails to Answer Soon
What about those emails you don't have time to answer as your students are streaming through your classroom door? 

Or the ones that require you to sit and think for a bit over a cup of coffee on the weekend? 

These are the emails I flag, to deal with as soon as I can in the near future:
(I actually do email myself all of the time, with links and documents to print!)

Step 4: Copy Information in Your Planbook
This is a newer step for me and has quickly become my favorite has already helped me so much in the few short weeks we've been in school!

As soon as I receive an email with any upcoming events, I add it right to my plan book (I use, you can read more about it here: Make a Digital Plan). This allows me to instantly delete tons of emails. 

Band Demo on Monday? Added to my plan book and deleted the email:

Workshop agenda sent by my principal? Copied and pasted right into my plans, deleted the email right away!

And that's it! With these four easy tricks, I have maintained an organized filing system for important emails and an empty inbox which makes me feel SO much more zen. 

What are your favorite tips for keeping up with email? I'd love to learn some new tricks from you!


  1. Great ideas! I would add something above Step 1: Glance through the email list before you open any. Delete any new ones that don't pertain to you. It's so helpful to start with a shrunken list. =)

    1. Thanks Kim, that's an excellent tip!

  2. I probably need to unsubscribe to every little thing that offers "free" something if I sign up w my email...

  3. Your ideas are great! Can't wait to try your last one. This will be my 3rd year using and I love it.

  4. Hmm I'll have to check out planbook- we do all our lesson plans in One Note but sometimes that can get confusing. P.S. I put up my classroom reveal featuring your alphabet signs! I get so many compliments on them all the time!


  5. please follow me on i need help to be succesful like you... greetins! and thanks!

  6. I have been using planbook for about 3 weeks and LOVE IT. I never even thought about putting things like a workshop agenda in there so that I don't have to worry about losing that email or not being prepared. I love your ideas. I am a new teacher and your tips help a lot! So much to organize!

  7. Thank you for your post. I am currently getting my masters in special education and I have heard a lot of stories and concerns relating to email. I will definitely keep your organization technique in mind. I am always curious which emails to answer right away and which can wait until later. Your post has helped answer that. Also, I know it is very important to save any parent emails that concern their students or IEPs. I am glad to see that your file preview agrees with this. I have never heard of planbook but it looks worth while! I am a very organized person and I feel this would be a great resource for me. I will definitely keep both of your resources and ideas in mind. They are both very important in the education environment and I am always open to new organizational ideas. Thank you!


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