Your inbox is your most-used tool - it’s your diary, your content, your correspondence and your first port of call when you get into work.
I’d probably hazard a guess that currently your inbox has thousands of unread emails clogging it up simply because there is so much junk that you don’t want to deal with.
But what about those important emails that get lost in and amongst this junk?
Well there’s a simple way to organise your Gmail that could potentially change your life - Priority Inbox.
Your email inbox may look something like this at the moment:
It’s the default setting for Gmail inbox, where unread, read and marked mail all sits together. But just a few clicks away is a sparkling, brand new inbox revelation.
If you click your settings gear, and head to ‘inbox’ and select ‘priority inbox’ from the drop down menu and then click save, the result should look something like this:
For a neat freak like me this is a sight to behold. Unread emails come in at the top, whatever I have starred comes up next and those emails deemed important sit below, with ‘everything else’ at the bottom.
Setting up your inbox like this makes you take action immediately, rather than sweeping all of your emails under the rug and pretending you will deal with them later.
Colour-coded labelling is yet another dream. It may not be for everyone but even just two labels like 'Follow-up' and 'Urgent' can transform your inbox routine.
This also works well with your starred and important sections as you can see the labels within each, and what needs your attention.
Automatically delete/archive emails with filters
An even more efficient way to organise your inbox is by using filters. With this tool you can automatically create mini actions for when certain emails drop in, like those ones from your manager or director of accounts that you simply cannot miss.
Filters are also located under the settings gear, you then select “create new filter” and a box will pop up. For example all emails that come from ‘Director Louise’ can have an automatic filter created that will mark her emails as important and for more step you can add a label too.
So you fill in said email address, and select continue which then takes you to the actions you want to take.
So I want to mark every email from her as important so that when I’ve read it it will always show up under the label and in the important section and her email will always get labelled with ‘Director Louise’.
There are other options as you can see - different labels can be applied, you can also select ‘Star it’ instead of important. Make sure you save your filter once you have finished.
You never* have to see spam in your inbox
Creating filters is a really good way to stop regular spam or annoying press releases from even stepping foot in your inbox. The only catch with this is you could potentially miss something that could have been useful.
How you filter these and which email address you select is entirely up to you as an example, I set up any emails from ‘email@example.com’ to be deleted.
The options here can be altered if you’re worried that you could miss something and instead of delete (which goes straight to your bin and does stay there for up to 30 days) you can instead ‘Skip Inbox and Archive’. This is a clever option as you can still search for it and it won’t be deleted.
These filters can also be set up to clear emails that you already have that you just don’t do anything with. The filter will find all the emails with the corresponding address or phrase you select and it will delete them and any future ones.
If you open a couple of emails right now you know to be spam or junk, and select 'More' at the top of your Gmail inbox and the select 'Filter messages like these' this will take out the step of going to your settings and trying to remember which email addresses you no longer wish to receive.
A short while back Google added these tabs to your inbox which means it decides which emails are labelled with the corresponding ones. You may have this view, if you have selected the tabs to be shown when you ‘Configure Inbox’ which is again under the cog. Or you may not have them showing and you will see them on the left hand side of your inbox under your labels.
In some ways this is helpful because all your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn notifications are sent to the social inbox. But it has signalled some trouble when it comes to companies sending out promotional material such as vouchers, offers, competitions etc because Gmail labels it as 'Promotions'.
Even though this could be a revelation for the way you work and will certainly improve your life, you cannot simply set this up and forget about those emails you deemed rubbish.
Always remember to check your spam folder, to check the tabs mentioned above and even check your trash because Gmail isn't 100 per cent reliable and something could potentially slip through the net.
*This is not a guarantee, companies will ALWAYS find a way back into your inbox heart...