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Tag. You’re It.

We all have our own ways of organizing our lives. I have developed a pretty useful pile system for organizing my desk and home. It might not make much sense to anyone else… in fact it probably looks like a great big mess. But based on the pile’s location, I not only know what’s in it, but where everything in it can be found. I can practically close my eyes and reach into a two foot high pile of clothes and pull out the exact black t-shirt I’m looking for.

Don’t judge me. My system works.

Lately, I’ve really  gotten into organizing my email. And not just in piles. I use tags extensively to help me find emails quickly, remember items that need my attention, and to keep my inbox tidy. The following Top 5  list is how I  personally use tags. There are definitely more productive ways to use tags, but I felt like writing more about the fun or personal ways they can be used.

  1. Keep a smile file
    We’ve created a Kudos tag that we apply to all the customer emails that come in thanking us for a job well done. When I’m having a rough day, sometimes just scrolling through all the praise can help get me back on track.
  2. Make a Follow Ups tag
    When I have  an email that doesn’t need my attention until a later date, I tag it Follow Up. Checking my Follow Up tag on a regular basis keeps me on top of things in a way that’s easier for me than scheduling on a calendar.
  3. Track the “Best Of”
    Sometimes we get really funny emails from customers. Usually the humor is inadvertent, but it’s still funny. I keep a Best Of tag going and it serves pretty much the same function as the Smile File.
  4. Multi tag
    I give emails multiple tags if I think it will help me find them. Say I have to follow up on an email about a specific product. I’ll tag it with the product name AND the follow up tag, so regardless of where I look for the email, I’ll find it. This alone makes tags way more useful than folders.
  5. Get tag happy
    A great tagging system is useless if you only do it sometimes. I’ve discovered that it’s better to overtag than undertag. You can always remove a tag from a message when you don’t need it anymore. But digging through your archive of thousands of emails for one specific message is not ever going to be an efficient way of finding anything. So remember to tag. Often.

4 Responses to “5 Great Ways to Tag Your Email”

  1. Christine Peters

    Great info. I was tagging, but way too broadly & it still kept me searching thru my tags. We are in the midst of moving offices this week, getting new software & new computers, so this info comes at the perfect time for me to clean up& tag up my email! Thanks for sharing your helpful tips!


    Hello Jay,

    I agree with your ‘tagging’ system. I have been mostly using follow-up tag with ‘person’s name’, so I can recollect all my follow-ups required with any one of my colleagues /subordinates. I liked your idea of using various tags such as quotes, inspirational, etc. Thanks.


  3. jay

    Hi Christine — You’re welcome, and good to hear from you again! I don’ t know if you’ve looked at Email Center Pro, but it’s a great tool for getting your email organized and managed more efficiently by your entire team.

  4. jay

    I believe the more tags you use, the better off you’ll be. Hey, they’re free! Tag tag tag…

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