The Benefits of a Clean Inbox

Provided by NDIRF CIO Vance Krebs

Let me start this article by saying: a clean inbox helps you work more efficiently.

A simple way to kick-start the cleaning process is to ensure you route work-related emails to your work inbox and personal emails to your personal inbox. This practice is also a common cybersecurity practice because it helps to reduce the chance of spam and/or phishing emails making their way to your work inbox. 

Once you’ve routed your emails to the appropriate work or personal inbox, the next step is to take a look at your sent, saved, deleted, and junk inboxes, and clean out any unnecessary emails. If there are emails you want to keep for future reference, develop a clear and consistent naming mechanism (ex. 20231006_Article_The Benefits of a Clean Inbox_Krebs) and save or upload them in an appropriate organizational drive or intranet. This process helps to ensure others within your organization can access it, if needed.

I always remind our employees that the more emails they have, which includes emails in their inbox as well as other folders, it only makes it more difficult to find the one they need. By having a well-organized drive, you can more easily comply with internal record retention policies as well as search for information you need, and it helps to reduce unnecessary emails within your inbox.

Additional advantages to keeping your inbox clean include:

  1. Improved Focus: A clean inbox helps you stay focused on essential tasks. When you’re not constantly distracted by irrelevant or outdated emails, you can concentrate better on your work and priorities.
  2. Enhanced Productivity: A cluttered inbox can lead to missed deadlines and overlooked important messages. Regularly sorting and archiving emails ensures that you respond promptly to critical matters and stay on top of your commitments.
  3. Security and Privacy: A cluttered inbox can make it easier to overlook phishing attempts or fraudulent emails. Keeping your inbox clean helps you identify suspicious messages more easily, enhancing your online security.
  4. Optimized Storage: Email services often have storage limits. By decluttering your inbox, you can make the most of your available space and avoid unnecessary subscription fees.

As I said from the start, a clean inbox helps you work more efficiently. But email cleanliness also supports your entity’s cybersecurity efforts and reduces the need for increased cloud storage, which reduces your entity’s expense.

If your entity needs guidance regarding how to assist employees with cleaning up their email inboxes and creating a document storage solution, contact me at