Okay, it may be a bit of an exaggeration to say your email inbox is sacred—as that word is usually reserved for a place of worship—but I do think our inboxes deserve deep respect. So today I wanted to share a few ways I keep my own inbox clean and ways I respect the recipients of my own emails.


  1. I unsubscribe from newsletters that no longer bring me joy or help me level up.
  2. I turn off unnecessary notifications. For example, last week I got over 400 emails from Crowdcast telling me someone had registered for my webinar—I regretted not turning off those notifications earlier.
  3. I don’t use my inbox as a to-do list. Instead, I put actions and tasks in my project management app (I use Asana but you could try Basecamp).
  4. When I open an email, I try to respond or take action on it immediately. Whether that’s creating a task or sending a quick reply, I try not to “mark as unread.” If I can’t deal with it now, it’s not likely that I’ll have the energy to deal with it later.
  5. I don’t respond to everything. Email begets more email—in other words, the more I send, the more I get. So if an email doesn’t warrant a response I don’t send one.


  1. Slack and Skype. Sometimes I am tempted to send an email to a coworker or client when a chat over Slack or quick session over Skype would be much more efficient. Remember, email isn’t the only way to communicate.
  2. My newsletters are valuable. If I don’t have at least $100 worth of knowledge to share or am telling a story that helps someone be more of who they are 100% of the time, I’m not hitting “send.” I’d rather wait until I have something worthwhile to say than clutter up your inbox.
  3. I let you know what I need / want. When I send you an email, I let you know exactly what I need from you by making a call to action at the end—this is true for both my newsletter subscribers and my coworkers.
  4. Brevity is kind. Keeping it short and simple is respectful (albeit sometimes difficult), but often I’m afraid of coming across short, so I’ll throw in a smiley face emoji or an extra exclamation point so my recipient knows my brevity should not be mistaken as cold or curt.
  5. Bullets, bolds, and lists. If for some reason I need to send a long email, I try to include bullets, use of bolded words or questions, and lists that help the reader take in all the information with ease.

I hope these simple (but not necessarily easy) tips give you some inspiration to keep your inbox (and others) tidy and well…sacred.

Kathleen is the co-host of Being Boss Podcast, helping creative entrepreneurs learn how to run their own creative business while being their most authentic selves. She also co-owns Braid Creative, a business visioning & branding agency for people- and purpose-driven businesses.