Organizing your inbox may not be high on your list of priorities, but if you can take a couple of hours during a slow evening or weekend to tackle this project, you’ll likely find this to be a worthwhile investment of your time. After all, staying organized will help you work smarter and faster, and what’s not to love about that? Let’s get started!
Gmail Filters 101
To set up Gmail filters, go to the wheel (Settings), in the upper right corner, and click Settings. Across the top, you’ll see the Filters button.
Once here, begin to create filters that will help you manage your Inbox. One of my biggest annoyances is newsletters, but I only subscribe to a handful, and occasionally, I do find something useful in one. It’s still not something I want to see every day in my inbox, and, in a fit of frustration, I sometimes delete a newsletter (or five) without reading first. So to solve the problem, create a newsletter filter that includes the words “unsubscribe.” After I created my newsletter filter, my morning inbox has noticeably dwindled.
You can also create filters for other topics and subject matter—the possibilities are limitless. For example, if you’re active on Twitter, you could set up a Twitter filter that will catch any emails sent from Twitter. That way, follow and other notifications won’t mix with your other messages—plus, it’s easier to go in and do a mass deletion if similar messages are already grouped together.
When you create a filter, you can identify multiple senders—maybe you prefer to gather your social media notifications in one place from sites like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. You could also create a filter based on your financial service providers so that you can group bills, bank statements and other related information in one place.
Filters For Multiple Gmail Accounts
For those of us that have 2 email accounts, things can get hairy. Thanks to Google, you can create a filter that not only labels any emails from your co-workers (or other individuals) that errantly go to your personal account, but it then forwards them there. Brilliant! To set up such a filter, enter the “To” email, then create a filter with this search. Apply the appropriate label and forward it to the appropriate email address (check boxes when prompted).
I’ve created labels for any emails coming in from my co-workers by their first names, so when I’m ready to archive them, it’s easy. Here’s an example of a filter I’ve established for Boss Lady, aka Shelly Kramer:
Do you see that gray box that says “Inbox” with the “x” beside it? I click on that x, and poof—the email is automatically moved into my Shelly archives.
Another Gmail Trick? Labels
I can’t talk about Gmail filters and not mention labels. For emails that you prefer to have in your inbox, labels are a lifesaver when it comes to organization. Use your own system to create and name your labels. You can even color-code them to make certain labels easily recognizable. If you, like me, go a little overboard with labels, your inbox will soon resemble a rainbow. And who doesn’t need an aesthetic boost throughout the day?
One more label trick? You can nest labels, too. For example, I’ve created a label for V3 Integrated Marketing, and then I can create sub-labels for clients and other relevant topics that are grouped underneath the main V3 label. This keeps your messages tidier than using separate, main labels for each and every message.
It may take some time to get your inbox organized, but once your system is in place, you’ll likely feel more organized, not to mention more efficient.
If you’re a Gmail user, I’d love to hear additional tips on how you use filters and labels to keep yourself organized.