How To Keep Your Gmail Inbox Organized

Email is the heartbeat of communication for many organizations. Because email is such an important piece of the average workday, your inbox can rapidly become cluttered if you don't take a proactive approach to manage your messages. Today's post will elaborate on three simple steps which will revolutionize the way you view and organize message in Gmail.

Step 1 - Choose an Inbox Option

We're all wired differently -- some Gmail users prefer viewing unread messages first, others prefer chronological order, or splitting their inbox view with a preview pane. Google has created a plethora of options for configuring your inbox, so it's likely you'll be able to find a setting that works for you. If you'd like to know more, one of our previous posts covers 5 different ways to view your inbox.

There are many different ways you can leverage inbox views to complement your existing techniques for organizing messages. It's also important to have a process and an organizational structure in place for dealing with new messages. Here at Dito we have had proven success using Priority Inbox and the following methods.

Setup Priority Inbox with these three sections.

  1. Unread Messages
  2. Starred Messages
  3. Everything Else
Next, visit the 'Gear' and then 'Settings.' Once in the general settings, scroll down to the 'Stars' section. You can give your own meaning to Stars and use them to mark your messages that need additional information, follow up, or action.

From the 'Stars' section drag the yellow star, red exclamation point, blue information star, and purple question mark to the In Use section. When we discuss best practices we will give potential uses for these stars later int he blog. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save.

Now that you have completed this initial setup, your unread mail will be easy to spot in the Unread section. The next section will be devoted to Starred messages, or messages that need additional information/follow up. The final section will be Everything else. Use the Everything else section for messages that don't seem to fit into any category. 

Step 2 - Structure the way you organize your messages

Priority Inbox will greatly improve the way your messages are sorted, but it's only one part of the equation. Every time you finish reading a message, you need to take action on it. Many times my mother has said "you wouldn't have such a mess if you put things away after you were finished using them." The same holds true for your email; you need to have a structured system for filing messages.

When you take action on a message, this normally means you are continuing the conversation, pausing it, or ending the conversation completely. 

Label Your Messages

Use Stars to Mark Your Messages for Follow-up

Archive a Message Instead of Deleting
Step 3 - Automate the process of organizing your messages

If you frequently receive messages from the same senders or distribution list, or messages that contain common subjects or terminology, you can automate much of the organizational process we've described above. Filters and Boomerang are two effective ways to automate monotonous tasks.

Google Apps for Business provides you with a number of ways to successfully keep your Gmail account organized. Use Priority Inbox and take action on your messages to keep your Gmail inbox working like a well oiled machine.

If you would like to learn more about how to apply these services to your daily processes subscribe to our blog. To learn more about Google Apps for your business, we invite you to visit our website. Lastly, we love to hear from users! If you have a suggestion for future blog posts or if you would like to share how you use Google Apps in our business, please comment below.

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