How to clear your inbox – email management hacks

Woman's hands typing at a laptop

There are two kinds of people in the world – the people that keep their inboxes tight, who like to keep things clear and 10 emails in the intray enough to make them sweat. Or the people who will brag “oh yes, 7,345 unread and counting”.

Which are you?

And more importantly, which do you want to be?

If the constant ping of arriving emails is starting to get to you, and your inbox mountain feels insurmountable, we have the inbox management hacks for you. Whether you’re using Outlook or Google, these simple tips will help you become the inbox minimalist you’ve always secretly wanted to be.

Read to the end for our ultimate cross platform inbox management tip!

Outlook inbox management tips

Focused Inbox

The Focus feature audits your inbox to see which emails you have ignored in the past, and then files any future emails that seem similar to your “Other” folder, and you can direct emails from specific addresses to the same, so your inbox is instantly clearer and you can go through low priority emails at your leisure.

Clean Up function

The Clean Up function removes all emails that have been duplicated in a subsequent thread – you’ll see a conversation rather than all the emails individually

Offline Mode

But not the offline mode you’re thinking of! Switch on the Offline Mode while you’re in Outlook and you can continue to respond to emails, but you are protected from receiving more emails. So you can finally clear your inbox.

Google inbox management tips


Change your settings to Important First, so your most important emails will be at the top of your inbox, or use the Priority mailbox setting – Gmail learns what kind of emails are important to you and will organise your inbox so messages you want to read sit at the top.


A really handy tool which will suggest emails to follow up on and suggest responses. Gmail will let you know if you haven’t received responses on important messages.


Snooze emails til another day. If you don’t need to respond to a message immediately but it’s cluttering up your inbox, snooze it and it will reappear in your inbox when it’s relevant.

Time to become SuperHuman?

A great plugin tool that syncs with both Outlook and Gmail that promises to save you 4 hours of email time every week, and that we LOVE. 

  • SuperHuman uses AI to understand themes in your emails and place them into category tags.
  • Start writing emails and it will suggest content based on past emails to that person.
  • Set reminders to bring specific emails back to your attention
  • Integrates with your calendar, Zoom, Meet/Teams

“Superhuman is a very useful tool for Execs and Assistants alike! The system is easy to use, easy to maintain and helpful in the day to day running of any business. Reminders bring emails to the top of your inbox ensuring emails do not get missed, easy labelling systems to ensure every email gets added to the appropriate tab and making it easy to run a zero inbox each day!”
– Gemma Wade, Upsource’s resident Superhuman super human

Email Hacks – whatever your platform

Does this need to be an email?

Ask yourself, could this be a Slack, a calendar invite, and IRL conversation? The best way to minimise your received emails is to stop sending so many emails.  


If you find yourself sending the same emails again and again, a folder of templates that cover your FAQs and common email threads can save you a lot of time, and help you to create a house style so your communication is consistent.


Automatically put emails from certain senders or with key words in their subject lines into specific folders to help keep your inbox clear and make sure nothing gets missed. 


Set up auto responses that can manage FAQs, let customers know when they can expect a response, thank suppliers when they send receipts or invoices.


You might be catching up on emails on a Sunday night, but by scheduling emails your team won’t have emails and notifications stacking up on days off, or overnight, so they can switch off properly. Or maybe you’re thinking ahead in your business and want to set up processes, reminders or send agendas for the future while you’re in organisational mode. Schedule them!

Mute conversations

Duck out of email chains that aren’t relevant to you by muting them so busy conversations are stacking up in your inbox.

Our ultimate inbox management hack

Just setting up all these rules, automations, plugins can seem like an overwhelming task. A Virtual Assistant can help you to rationalise your inbox, set up all the hacks and plugins to make sure that it stays manageable in the future and give you back a sense of control. If you’d like to speak to Caroline to find an inbox wizard that can help you, get in touch.