For most people, email is a form of communication that is used all day, every day of the week. Hopefully that means your inbox is in good condition and organized with each email in its right place, clearly labeled. If that’s not the case (which is more likely than not!), here are some easy habits and helpful tools to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining an efficient inbox.
Although we’re not a user of Gmail’s Priority Inbox, they recently rolled out “smart labels,” which we’ve tested out and concluded that for certain users it can be very helpful, depending on the type of emails you receive. However, it is also easy to stay organized without the help of a smart system, here’s how:
Sort as emails come: The best way to stay organized is to start from the get-go. Don’t let emails pile up throughout the week only to try and find rhyme and reason over the weekend. As emails start to flow in, organize them with labels.
Labels: If you choose to, you can go into the Labs tab in Gmail settings and activate “smart labels” which will automatically label incoming bulk, notification and forum messages as such. Just as how we felt with Priority Inbox, we don’t feel the need to activate smart labels because we like to label our emails ourselves, but for those of you who receive mass mail newsletters or personally statements, smart labels could be helpful.
Color Categorization: Another simple way to organize but is extremely helpful is color categorization with labels. If you’re someone who works different gigs or have different groups of friends, oftentimes each gig or group you have can be associated with a color. We find categorizing labels with an associated color definitely helps in quick association.
Filters: After you’ve created labels, you can then assign emails to go directly into each label with filters. In the Settings menu, select Filters and click on “Create a new filter.” Here you’ll have to input the sender’s email address you want to filter, for example Chase Banking or LivingSocial.
Assign Actions: Next step is to direct these emails to the right labels. To avoid an inbox filled with unread messages, select both “Skip the Inbox” and “Mark as read,” and then click “Apply the label” to select the appropriate folder.
Gmail offers a wide range of tools that help you stay organized and efficient with your emails. Here is the top four we find most useful:
“Got the Wrong Bob:” We probably all know at least two people that have the same name. In order to avoid confusion, activating this trick will prompt Gmail to make sure you’ve got the right person.
Drag and Drop files: Instead of manually clicking “Attach a file” simply drag and drop files directly into the message.
Apps search: By activating “Apps search” you can extend your searches beyond the inbox into Google Docs and Sites.
Offline Gmail: Compose emails even without internet connection.
By Julienne Lin
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.