Organizing Your Email Inbox

So you’ve cleaned out your closets, purged all the broken toys and reorganized your pantry.  You sit down at your computer to check your emails and it’s just a MESS.  How in the world could you have 75 emails in your inbox since last night?  Did you miss an important email a program at your child’s school because you have too many advertisements in your inbox?  Is it overwhelming you?  Let’s fix that!

First of all, I love Gmail.  I’m sure there are other web based email systems that are just as great but I’m a fan of Gmail.  I’m going to share some tips about that particular system but you’re welcome to apply what I’m saying to other email programs.  The specifics might be different but you’ll get the general idea.

First things first, let’s take care of advertisement emails.  Some would call it junk mail but I like to receive this mail.  I get free shipping codes, news of special deals and special shopper incentives through my email.  But, I don’t want to read that stuff unless I actually want to read that stuff.  In Gmail I can set up filters for my mail.  I have several of these set up but the one that is most helpful is my “advertisments” filter.  When I get an advertisement email I open the email, click on “more” and “filter messages like these”.

Click on “next step” and then check the boxes “skip inbox” and “apply the label:”.  I have a label set up called “advertisements” and then “create filter”.

Now you have created a filter for emails from this business that will no longer go into your inbox but rather go directly into the label folder called “advertisements”.  At first it will take a bit of time to set up all these filters but eventually you will have all your regular business advertising emails going to this album.

The important step in this process is filtering the email so it doesn’t even enter your “inbox”.   One perk I love about this too is that I’m not quite as tempted to click over to a website to see what they are advertising.  I don’t really know what I’m missing I suppose but when I’m ready to go shopping I just search for the name of the store and voila…all my ads show up for my shopping pleasure.

This same process can be applied to whatever emails tend to clog up your inbox.  I have filters set up for Facebook, Freecycle, my website, Craigslist and more.  In Gmail they still show up in bold when you have new messages.  I spend way less time reading all the junk mail now and getting to the meat of the things I need to read.  This would also be helpful if you like to read blogs in your email inbox.  You could set them all up to go to the same filter and read them one by one or you could give them each their own filters.

On my iPhone I have just certain filters set to push to my phone so I don’t get all the advertisements on my phone but only the email that is important to be able to read on the go.

Happy emailing!