Boost Productivity By Managing Gmail Better

>> Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Internet has permeated our lives in a clinical, ruthless manner. No matter where we are, we need to be connected. It's reached a point where an hour away from one's email inbox can lead to complete anarchy. I, for one, feel that having a cluttered Inbox severely stresses me out. It's like a pile of work that's pending. At the same time, I also realized that I'm using one of the most feature-packed webmail services in the world. So, I came up with a system that enables me to manage my Gmail inbox really well. Along with inspiration from Inbox Zero, I have managed to keep my email at bay, and tell it who's boss inside my inbox.

And today, you get to know all about it. I basically make use of many features inherent in Gmail, along with a few tweaks, to make my Inbox look really clean and tidy. Having a clean inbox lets me focus at the task at hand. Read on to know about my email kung-fu.

  • Use Labels: Labels are a really cool way to deal with emails. It's like folders taken to another level. The difference is that one email can belong to multiple emails. So, in case I have an forwarded email from an important friend, it can go to two labels, one by the name of said friend, and the other that's conveniently named "Forwards". Go to Settings > Labels to create yours.
  • Use Filters: If you haven't done so already, set up filters in your Gmail account. Filters are a really efficient way of sending the correct email to the correct places. Make sure that only the most important email reaches your Inbox. The rest can all be neatly sorted. The best part is that Gmail lets you export/import filters. To do so, just go to Settings > Lab > Filter Import/Export > Enable. My favorite filters are listed below. Create your own by clicking "Create a Filter" near the Search Box.
    1. Forwarded Emails Filter: This filter simply looks for the strings "Fwd:" or "Fw:" in an email subject and applies the label "Forwards" to matching emails. It also archives the emails.
    2. Social Networking Filter: This filter scans the "From:" field of all incoming emails and applies the label "Social Networks" to those, which originate from, well, Social Networks. It also archives these emails.
    In case you don't want to go through the trouble of creating these filters for yourself. You can import my filters file provided below. Play with your filters to really unleash the power of Gmail. My Filters File
  • Use the "+" Operator: What do I mean by that? Well, Gmail treats both "" as well as "" as the same. Now do you get my point? Suppose, you are signing up for the Technokracy Feed by Email. Then, you can use the email ID "" and still receive the emails at "". Once you've done this, just setup a filter to redirect all emails addressed to "" to the label "Technokracy".
  • Spruce Up Your Inbox: They say appearances can be deceptive. Well, you wouldn't mind deception once in a while, would you? Especially if you are using the default Gmail theme and have tons of email lying unattended? It just looks plain ugly if you know what I mean. Head over to my previous post about Pimping out Gmail and read how to make the whole interface look like you want it to. Author's Recommendation: Use the Mac OS X Snow Leopard Theme with Stylish.
  • Use Firefox Extensions: This one is specially for professionals who are neck-deep into projects and tasks, but can't be bothered about using PIMs such as Outlook. Install the GTDInbox Firefox extension and see Gmail turn into a professional power-house. NOTE: This sadly just works for Firefox so far.
  • Use Gmail Labs Features: Gmail is working on some really awesome features in their Labs. So head over there and enable the following life-saving features:
    1. Hide Read Labels<: This feature manipulates the Gmail interface to only show those labels for which you currently have unread messages. Helps to draw your attention to the latest email.
    2. Multiple Inboxes: Who needs one Inbox when you can have 5? OK. So five may be overkill. But once you enable this feature, you can head over to Settings > Multiple Inbox and configure more inboxes which will show up next to, above, or below your main Inbox. This way, you can have one inbox for all mail, one for mails from your boss, and one for mails that have attachments.
I have been using all the above tweaks to blaze through my email each morning for over a year now. I am pretty sure that once configured properly, you will be able to the same for your inbox. Go ahead and play some crazy Gmail games! 

Tell us about your own experiences while managing emails. Click on the post headline to do so. Also, don't forget to share this with your friends by clicking the Share button below. If you really, really love my blog, subscribe to it as well.

Nothing selected
Nothing selected
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Post a Comment

About This Blog

This blog was created out of my passionate following for technology. After spending most of my life behind a monitor, and bent over a keyboard, I decided that it would be wonderful if I could pass on a bit of my knowledge to fellow netizens. And with that, I realized that it's time to start my first Blog. I hope that I will be able to keep posting quality content regularly. Please drop your comments about the blog on the Feedback page. I will do my best to respond.

About Me

My photo
I am a final year Engineering student. This blog is my attempt to provide perspective on technological developments (computers and the Internet) from around the world. This is my first attempt at blogging and any feedback (good or bad) is welcome.

Search This Blog

  © Blogger template Werd by 2009

Back to TOP