How I Organize My Gmail For Productivity

Email can be one of the biggest stress inducing forms of communication in the world. This is because we are bombarded with it and sifting through it to find what really matters can be overwhelming at best. In Gmail there is two things that I have taken advantage of to organize my inbox to something that I can wrangle and control instead of having it control me. Those things are labels and filters. I am going to share my personal labels and filters and how I use them in the hopes that you can take some of them and apply them to your life hopefully allowing you to gain more control of your inbox and taking the anxiety out of email.

Step 1: Unsubscribe From All Unwanted Emails

Unsubscribing from unwanted newsletters and notification emails that come from companies that you have given your email address is the number one way to cut down on the number of emails that you get on a daily basis. Most if not all newsletters or mass sent emails have a option to unsubscribe or change subscription preferences at the bottom of the email. This has improved drastically in the last couple of years as that is one of the main classifications of spam and anyone who does not want their emails automatically put in a spam folder will make sure to have the ability to unsubscribe somewhere in the email.

Step 2: Create Labels For Categories of Emails

This is something that will be unique to each person as different people want to have different things in their inbox. I like to have my inbox be the place for mission critical emails, so anything that is not missions critical and can be categorized into a group of emails that I can look at a later date (or not look at, at all) I do what I can to eliminate them being in my email inbox. Some categories that I have are Newsletters, Notifications, IFTTT, To Evernote, and To Pocket. The Newsletter label that is where every newsletter, blog update, or sales email goes. The Notifications is where all notifications from social media emails go. IFTTT is where emails that are generated by IFTTT go (typically it is things like books that are free on amazon today). To Evernote and To Pocket are where emails that have been forwarded to these services go incase something goes wrong I can try to resend them.

Step 3: Create Filters To Automatically Skip The Inbox And Apply Appropriate Labels.

I have taken screen shots to show exactly how to create a filter that makes all emails from a specific address skip the inbox and go to the designated label. I do this for every email that doesn’t land their and you will see the amount of emails actually landing in your inbox go down overtime till eventually hopefully it is rare that one gets through. * Just a bonus, but I have an IFTTT Recipe that any new email labeled to Evernote will forward that email from gmail to my super secret personal Evernote email. I use a IFTTT Recipe instead of a filter, because I ran into problems verifying ownership of the email in gmail and to forward to an address in gmail you have to verify ownership. With this 3 step process I have cut my Inbox down from hundreds of non important emails mixed with the important ones to just the mission critical emails in my inbox, and other labels that I can go through at my own convince.

How do you manage an unruly email inbox?

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