Not too long ago I wrote the article How and Why Did Gmail Become So Popular? In that article I explain that prior to Gmail, email inboxes filled up very fast. Whether you were on Webmail, Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail you often had to delete email to create space so you could receive future email. That is not the case in 2015. Gmail, and especially Inbox, encourages users to archive or keep all of their emails. The problem lies in organization. If you are a business professional, how on earth can you keep all of your emails? Well, here is how I do it.
Utilize Folders and Labels (A Lot!)
Gmail and Inbox do a fantastic job of allowing users to move emails to folders or label specific emails. When in Gmail the folder and label tabs look very similar. When you click a box beside an email the following bar shows up at the top of Gmail:
The “folder” tab will be on the left on the top of the Gmail bar and when clicking the drop down menu it will have the “Move to” option while the “label” tab will be on the right and it will have the “Label as” option.
This is the Folder Tab:
This is the label tab:
I like to use the Folder tab because when you put something in a folder it takes it out of your inbox and leaves it in the folder. This means your Gmail will look much cleaner when you log in. If you just place a label on an email it is going to remain in the inbox. Try out both and see which work for you. Note that if you place a label on an email you can then archive it and it will take it out of your inbox and you can simply look at the emails that have been assigned that particular label.
After they have been created, your folders and labels will be on the very left hand side of your Gmail dashboard. You may have to hover over where it says “Inbox, Important, Trash, Drafts, Spam, etc” for the drop down to push your other options lower and show you the folders and labels. If you can assign each email to a folder you will find that the email is much cleaner. This is one step easier than assigning a label and achieving it but both methods will work.
Here is how you assign a folder in Google Inbox (if you are looking for a Google Inbox invite please feel free to comment below and I can get you one):
When you open an email in Google Inbox you will see three vertical dots on the upper right of the email. When you click the three dots the screenshot above will appear. You have the option to “Move to” or you can select a “bundle”. Note that a bundle is pretty much the same thing as a folder. If you have created folders you will be able to scroll down and see your “unbundled folders”. You also have the ability to create a new bundle folder from the three vertical dot drop down menu.
Google Inbox is a fantastic way to keep your Inbox very clean. Note that when looking at an Inbox email the check mark on the upper right will “mark done” for the email which means it will be archived and will no longer be in the inbox. There is also an option to Snooze or Pin. I would strongly suggest Snoozing emails that you will need for a later time. If you have a business conference coming up in May you can snooze the email until April 10th and it will reappear in your inbox like you just receive the email.
The pin feature is great for very important emails. It is basically like having a cock board or bulletin board in your office. You can pin important emails and then mark them as done when you have finished.
By using Folders and learning how to properly utilize Google Inbox you will be able to keep every email you have every received and have an organized inbox. Also remember that if you “mark done” in Inbox you can always search for any email you have ever received. Google does that search thing very well so do not hesitate to hit the check mark once you have read an email. This was very hard for me to learn how to do but once I started doing it my inbox was always organized and I rarely felt overwhelmed. If you need help with your Gmail or Google Inbox feel free to reach out to me anytime.