Quick tip: How to categorize school assignments in your email

If you constantly email assignments to yourself, you may have experienced what I call an “inbox nightmare.” Imagine you’re at school one day, working on a project, and you’re trying to look through your email for a Spanish assignment you emailed yourself one month ago. You can’t remember the subject line of the email, nor can you remember the name of the document. Now, all you can do is hopelessly scroll through page after page of subject lines that read “testasdf” or “PRINT THIS ASAP IF YOU DON’T YOUR GRADE WILL DROP TO AN F-!!!!” Where could the assignment be buried?

But never fear! There is a way to counter the inbox nightmare: stay organized! And you have options.

One option is to create labels for each class that you have, and categorize each and every email by putting a label on it. However, this takes a lot of work, as you have to create the labels, and after sending yourself the email, you have to put a label on the email. Some people just don’t have that much time! And I bet you that you will have read this paragraph in a shorter amount of time than it takes to email an assignment to yourself and put a label on it.

Another option is to use a method, borrowed directly from one of my favorite websites, Mashable.com. Occasionally, at the ends of titles of articles, you will see a word in brackets, all-caps, like this: [INFOGRAPHIC] or [VIDEO]. These “in-text categories”, as I call them, tell the reader what kind of article they’ll be looking at. And not surprisingly, there exists a very similar method of organizing your emails:

  1. Choose a short abbreviation for each of your classes, and stick with them. I call these abbreviations “tags”
  2. In your subject line, use the following format: tag, in brackets; followed by a short title of the assignment. FOR EXAMPLE: “[ESP] Verb conjugations” would be the subject header of a Spanish assignment on verb conjugations
  3. Attach the file, and send!

Now, every assignment you send to yourself will have the same format, whether it be “[ENG] Critical analysis essay” or “[MATH] Chapter 5 notes”. When you use the search bar in your email to look for assignments from a particular class, just search the class abbreviation, and voila! All your assignments from that one class, using tags instead of labels!