However, that doesn’t mean you should throw your hands up in frustration and resign yourself to a lifetime of playing digital catch-up.
Rather than focusing on a complete purge of your Gmail inbox, a better goal is to simply strive for meaningful organization. When your inbox is neat, it makes you a more effective communicator. You’ll be better able to handle time-sensitive communication, and important correspondence and materials are less likely to get lost in the shuffle.
An organized Gmail also helps when it comes to time management, especially if you use your inbox as an informal to-do list. Organization helps you quickly see how many important emails must be addressed so you can dedicate time to handling each one. An organized inbox also means less time sifting through emails and looking for attachments. Perhaps best of all, an organized inbox means less stress.
In the interest of attaining the more achievable and useful goal of organized emails, consider the following ways to organize your Gmail.
Customize Your User Experience
The default user experience on Gmail is fairly intuitive and organized. However, it is a one-size-fits-all approach that may not be to your liking. Fortunately, Gmail allows users to make adjustments to the user experience.
Start by removing the default “Promotions” or “Social” tabs if they are not relevant to your job. To do this:
- Go to the settings menu and click on the “Inbox” tab.
- Under the menu item “Categories”, select what inbox tabs are displayed by checking or unchecking the different boxes.
- Scroll to the bottom of the menu and click “Save Changes.”
You can also customize the way Gmail displays your emails. In the settings menu under the “Inbox” tab, the “Inbox type” menu item allows you to select how your emails are presented using a few different options:
- Default. Emails are categorized into tabs.
- Important first. Emails are listed based on how important Gmail perceives them to be. For example, conversations are considered more important than updates from Google Docs.
- Unread first. Unread messages are presented at the top of the inbox. Messages are only re-sorted if the inbox is reloaded.
- Starred first. Messages marked “Starred” are presented at the top of the inbox.
- Priority. Emails you are most likely to respond to, as determined by Gmail, are put at the top of the inbox.
- Multiple inboxes. Using user-set criteria, Gmail can divide the inbox screen up to 5 different ways.
While these customization options offer some degree of flexibility, they often rely heavily on Gmail’s ability to perceive and meet your workflow needs.
Create a To-Do Label System Based on Urgency
Somepeople use Gmail as a kind of informal to-do list. If you are one of these people, then it may be worth while to create a label system that reflects the way you use your inbox. One approach is to create different folders for different degrees of urgency:
- Create a main label called “To-Do”
- Within the To-Do label, create sub-folders for different deadlines called: “ASAP,” “This Week,” and “Long-Term”
This approach will help you stay organized, but it does require ongoing, manual administration.
Set Up Automated Filters
The technology we use every day is increasingly incorporating automation, and Gmail is no exception. The e-mail platform’s automated filters can be set up to label, star, delete, and otherwise direct emails. For example, you can create a label called “Invoices” and use a filter to apply this label to all invoice emails coming from various clients.
Filter scan be created and edited in the settings menu:
- Select the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” tab
- Click “Create a New Filter” and select filter criteria, such as key phrases in the body of an e-mail or specific email addresses
- Click “Create a Filter”
- Use checkboxes to choose what action(s) you would like Gmail to take with filtered emails
- Click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the Settings menu
Filters are a great way to direct traffic within Gmail, but they still require you to parse various labels and inbox sections to get the information you need.
Use Teamstand to Activate the Filing Cabinet in Your Inbox
While Gmail does offer several useful organizational tools, these tools still require significant effort to both set up and maintain. Additionally, these tools organize emails, as opposed to any documents attached to an email. Even if your emails are organized, it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to quickly find the documents you need. If you don’t want to build a folder system or set up a series of filters from scratch simply to organize emails — not necessarily critical documents — Teamstand offers a fast and simple way to access the vital assets in your inbox quickly.
With Teamstand, AI and automation are used to create a digital filing cabinet that intuitively presents your critical files and e-mail attachments in a collapsible side panel. This easy-to-use Chrome extension is a simple, yet powerful organizational tool — helping people save hours a week and avoid unnecessary stress. If you would like to learn more about this free and powerful tool, contact us today.