by Jess Samuels
Everyone has felt overwhelmed by email at one time or another, either because of the sheer quantity of it, or because of all of the “to do” items that get created because of it. I am going give you two simple tricks that I use to help manage my inbox and keep calm when the emails are in rapid fire mode.
If you aren’t yet using google tabs, you are missing out on a wonderful opportunity – to clear your inbox, and most importantly, to clear your mind. Google has brilliantly created a system for automatic organization of your emails into categories:
Social: Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
Promotions: Deals, offers, and other marketing emails
Updates: confirmations, receipts, bills
Forums: online discussion groups, mailing lists
Before Google Tabs I would get annoyed by any email I received during work hours that took me off track. While it is nice to receive the occasional email update from Facebook, you don’t want to feel buried in updates in order to get to what is important. What I find when using Google Tabs is that I diligently work through email in my primary tab and that when I have time, I am able to look at all of the updates, mailing lists, and offers together. The mere act of clumping these types of emails makes me so much more receptive to receiving them! Google Tabs is smart enough to learn as well, so if a particular mailing list is SUPER important, you can assign it to go to your primary inbox instead. So if you aren’t using google tabs yet – give it a try.
Google Labels & Filters
Many folks use their email as a giant to do list. If there is an email in the inbox you know something needs to be done with it – however, when you get behind in your email or check your email on your phone it is hard to keep actively managing your inbox. The key is to use labels to tag to do items, items you are waiting for and projects.
A browser add-on, such as “ActiveInbox for Gmail” is one way to do this – however, you can also use the same system with your existing labels. Creating a “!Action” label, and a “!Waitingon” label. The ! keeps the labels at the top of your labels. Don’t forget to add a bright color to each label, so that they stick out. To take labels to the next level, you should use automatic filters to attach colorful labels to important emails, like your boss’ emails.