Simple rules to manage your emails in Gmail

Are you too one of those email users with thousands of unread emails in their Inbox?

Your mailbox feels like a bottomless pit whenever you try to find a message you have received weeks ago?

We know what it’s like – many email messages are notifications from apps you’re using or newsletters you’re not actually reading. Not to mention spam. When you receive dozens of such emails every day, it’s hard to keep the pace and manage your emails to bring them down to 0.

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Being careful about web application settings and not providing your email address to any website can help you reduce the workload and keep your inbox clean more easily; however, this will not solve the problem entirely. There will still be emails you’ll need to manage, and every day you’ll delay taking measures will cause more messages to pile up.

Since many WEEK PLAN members are also Gmail users, we have formulated some simple tips enabling you to manage your email inbox in Gmail more effectively. Based on our experience, these are some ideas that should work for you too:

Eliminating Junk emails

If you’ve never received unsolicited messages in your inbox, it means you have never used email. But if you are a Gmail user, you can consider yourself lucky – their spam filter is so good that you’ll probably never receive junk mail in your inbox. However, if this happens, you can get rid of spam with almost no effort:

  • Select the message you want to report as Spam
  • Click the spam button located in the toolbar above the message

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Doing this with any message that you consider spam is worth the effort, because it will help Gmail become better at differentiating between emails and spam.

Delete useless emails

If a message is not spam, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s useful. For instance, you receive notifications from various web apps by email – sometimes you open them, at other times you don’t because you already know what they’re about. Deleting these messages every day takes you about a couple of minutes and will help you have a clean email inbox.

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Put everything under one inbox (use Send as)

The Gmail interface allows you to manage multiple email accounts; if you also have an Yahoo email account (or use the services of any other email provider), you can send emails from Gmail with the sender listed as your Yahoo address. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to Settings
  • Click the Accounts and Import tab
  • Click on Add another email address from the Send mail as section
  • Follow the steps provided by Gmail to confirm your alias

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Don’t use priority inbox

Priority email inboxes may sound like a useful feature, because you separate incoming email messages into three different sections: Important and unread, Starred, and Everything else.

However, going through all sections and organizing each one of them until you get to 0 unread messages will take more time. Moreover, you may have related messages split between different sections – this makes it more difficult to keep track of a conversation.

Reply to emails as fast as possible

One of the reasons we feel the need to organize emails in different folders (and thus waste time and eventually lose track of them) is deciding to reply to emails later. Oftentimes, we never reply again and we just add some extra emails to folders that get thicker and thicker every day.

The solution is to reply to all emails as fast as possible. Even if you don’t have time to work on that specific item right away, tell the sender of the email that you will deal with it as soon as possible.

And here comes the trick that helps you de-clutter your inbox without neglecting tasks: while replying, CC WEEK PLAN to keep track of the task. Send an email to todo+[email protected] and a task will be automatically created in your workspace (tip: replace XXXXX with the number of the workspace where you want to create the task). Find out more about the email integration feature here.

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Star emails that you need to refer to shortly

Just a little above we were advising you not to use the priority inbox feature, and you might be wondering “How come?”, when the concept of priority is so important for WEEK PLAN.

While using priority inbox may increase workload, there is another Gmail feature that can help you incorporate prioritization in your email experience: starring messages. The key is to use this feature sparingly (only for urgent/important emails) and to remember to remove the star every time after solving the issue.

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Organizing your emails in Gmail effectively doesn’t take too much work or learning dozens of secret features; all you need to is to dedicate a couple of minutes every day to this activity and send all the tasks you need to complete to WEEK PLAN.

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Getting First Things Done
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How to manage your time so that you make real progress towards what really matters.