As with almost everything you use on a daily basis, emails get naturally messy when you don’t make an effort to organize them. Although many people struggle every day, we have learned tricks on how to organize Gmail keep things in order. This is what I want to share with you all today.
The basics of email
Emails are on the internet as an online version of mailboxes. They became very popular from the beginning of the internet as a rich form of interaction – in that time, when no other possible rich interaction existed.
But when you think about that, even now with instant messaging and social media, emails are still very popular. Many other solutions have come and gone, but email has remained as a solid solution that integrates other solutions, acting like a digital hub for online identity.
As a cultural part of the internet experience, emails have a strong reputation and it doesn’t seem to be fading, just evolving.
If you don’t organize your Gmail the right way, your life can become a little hell. So, we compiled a few tips on how to organize your Emails on both smart and like a boss ways.
Understanding how Gmail works
Gmail offers many native tools to help you organize your inboxes, such as folders, labels, and even tabs. First, let’s discuss the definitions and differences between them:
Labels: labels are basically a simple way to categorize your messages. For example, you can define that all messages coming from specific friends will get the label “Friends”, while others coming from work will get the label “Work”. You can also attribute next steps to your labels’ names, such as “Follow Up” and “Pay”.
Folders: many folders, come as standard, in your Gmail already, such as Inbox, Sent, Junk… these are very common, but you can create your own folders and make your email even simpler.
Tabs: tabs are the categories of your messages, so if it comes from a newsletter or a friend, they belong in different categories, for instance.
Once you categorize your messages properly, you’re much more capable to keep this organization in the future.
Labels and folders: your best friends in Gmail
In order to tag properly your messages and create your first label, just go to Create new label, on your left menubar (you might have to click on More to show this button).
With your labels created, all you need to do is go to a message, click on Label button and choose labels you want to apply. After you use them for a while, labels get very natural for you.
People also love adding colors to their labels, it keeps emails even more intuitive, and are so simple so set up:
- Find the label you want to add a color to on the left menu bar
- Click on its small arrow button
- Click on label color
- Pick a color
Tabs: The love/hate relationship
People have been using Gmail since it was launched, 14 years ago in 2004. And with all upgrades and changes, some people just can’t handle tabs. They prefer the classic view; it makes them feel more organized.
It might be the same for you when it comes to Tabs. Many users say it looks like they’re dealing with 5 emails instead of just one. So let’s see how you can simplify your inbox and then some.
1. With your Inbox open, click on Settings
2. Then click in the tab Configure inbox
You will probably see in Categories that those boxes are all checked. You can uncheck the ones you don’t want to see. This means emails from those categories will load into your “Primary” tab.
Send relevant emails to the top
It’s very important to have the most relevant emails easily visible to you in your inbox. You can pick the type of emails you want to see on the top of your inbox by changing your Inbox Type. Gmail offers the following options, depending on your workflow:
- Important First
- Unread First
- Starred First
- Priority Inbox
To change these settings, do the following:
1. With your Inbox open, click on Settings button
2. Select the option Settings (yes, there is a “settings” option inside a “settings” button)
3. Click on the tab inbox
4. In Inbox type, pick the options that suits you the best
5. Don’t forget to click Save Changes 🙂
Don’t hesitate on hitting the unsubscribe button
Promotional emails are really annoying. But, just like it happens with old emails, we tend to say: “I am not going to unsubscribe, because what if I need it in the future?” Well, this “what if” is in big part responsible for the mess in your inbox.
Again, evaluate how relevant are your current newsletter subscriptions. Remember that the whole idea is to organize your inbox better. Part of the process is reducing the amount of email stored but also reduce the number of emails that will arrive in the future.
See what subscriptions aren’t really providing anything useful and get rid of those. A big chunk of a cluttered email inbox is made of subscriptions and newsletters we don’t even care. Sorting through these emails is time-consuming and will have a negative impact on your productivity.
There’s a huge amount of tools you can use in order to unsubscribe from useless newsletters which will save you a lot of time (and GBs) in your inbox.
Clean your Inbox consistently
To organize Gmail, you need to clean Gmail first. Imagine your email as a messy room in your house. If you want to get it tidy and clean, you’ve got to get rid of all clutter inside.
Something that you should keep in mind is, don’t be afraid to archive and delete old messages. The less you see, the better your productivity, so clean up those old messages, basically, you should:
- Delete when you’re 100% sure that your conversation is finished and there’s no need to see it again
- Archive when you might need this email in the future, but you’re done with it now.
Some users get scared that by archiving files, they would lose them. It’s not true. The Archive folder is just like any other folder in your email, so your messages are safe there. On the other hand, by deleting a message, it goes to the Trash, and usually stays there for 30 days until it’s automatically deleted.
By cleaning up your inbox, you leave only what is important, and there will make it much easier for the next steps of your organization.
How to Organize Gmail – The Like a Boss Way
During our years of work experience, we’ve noticed how much more productive we can become when we spend less time switching between tools.
That’s why we have created an evolution of email and task management right here in Drag – why not having labels, folders, tabs, tasks, notes, due dates, boards, all beautifully visualized in amazing Trello-like boards?
By merging different technologies in a simple way, our solution provides an excellent experience while it also simplifies your life.
With Drag you take your Gmail organization to another level. Besides that you have a shared inbox with so many features within that will make a difference while you collaborate
Kanban: the best view to organize Gmail
The first thing you need to do to organize your Gmail is to choose the right layout. Sure, you can choose from the conventional layouts available within Gmail: Important First, Default, Unread First, Starred First and Priority Inbox. They all provide a standard view of your inbox and you can easily select them. Just go to settings and then choose the inbox tab.
From that point on you’re free to choose the layout you feel most comfortable to work with. The default one will provide the standard format which organizes your Gmail inbox by date. This is most likely the one you’ve been using this whole time which hasn’t worked out that well so far in keeping your inbox organized. This layout will give you the option to select different categories for your emails to be placed. The rest of the categories work pretty much the same. Google will make predictive analysis over the emails you’re more likely to open.
All of these options will give you pretty much the same inbox visualization and maybe that’s the problem. You need a tool that changes the way you’re used to managing your inbox, and that’s Kanban. This layout will change the way your inbox looks, giving you more control and power over your inbox. A Kanban layout changes your emails into cards presenting them in a clear way.
Use notes in email instead of emailing yourself
This is one of the reasons why inboxes get so messy and cluttered. Because we either use email as a personal reminder or as a messaging tool for internal conversations with other team members. It happens so fast and before you know it there are lots of emails with an endless thread of related messages that only clutter your inbox. Plus you’re far from that inbox zero and it still costs you time and money.
There’s not a single good excuse to do this when you have notes in email which are one of the best business tools out there. It simplifies teamwork superbly because they’re quite simple to use even if it’s your first time.
There are a few options if you want to start doing it. Google Keep seems to be a convenient option as it is already built as a Gmail add-on so there is no need to go back and forth between your inbox and your task note app.
With Drag you can add notes directly on your emails or tasks to help you understand what are the requirements, important things you need to know about an action you need to take or anything else related to this. This is how this amazing feature looks like:
Organizing your email should not be a distraction that is costing you time and money. Having a cluttered inbox and not dealing with it will only bring you stress, affecting not only your workflow but it will also affect everyone in your team. Drag offers a true solution that brings you power and control without the need to install expensive software. You’re just a Google Chrome extension away from experiencing the change.
Drag is The Everything Inbox for Teams – one single place to support customers, manage tasks and close deals, from the place teams love – Gmail. We are Techstars-backed Company, trusted by 30,000 users around the World.