A few weeks ago, I accomplished that I sucked at email. I was missing important emails or artlessly apathy to acknowledgment because I got distracted. I was acceptable capricious to others, so I absitively to abode some hours to acclimation the problem. I started by exploring abounding variations of GTD (Getting Things Done) which accomplished me a lot, but abounding of the approaches acquainted over-engineered for my needs. I’m amidst by abounding amazing coworkers that assume to accept their email act together, so I started allurement them to allotment their best practices with me. I afresh accumulated $.25 and pieces of what I abstruse into what is now alive absolute able-bodied for me.
Below is a screenshot of my accepted assignment email (with argument masking/modifications so I don’t get accursed for administration assignment information!). All of this was implemented with the out-of-the-box Gmail web client.
The key to my set up is assorted inboxes. These are accessible to set up and it’s non-destructive, so if you don’t like it, you can artlessly about-face off the affection and aggregate will backslide aback to breadth you were.
To bureaucracy assorted inboxes, go to settings and bang on the “labs” tab, afresh accredit the Assorted Inboxes option.
This will actualize a new tab in settings alleged Assorted Inboxes. Here’s how abundance is set up:
A big allotment of my alignment is based on stars. I went to settings (general tab) and configured three stars:
I like stars because I can bang the brilliant aing to any email in the inbox and it toggles from no-star to red to chicken to dejected to none, so it’s cool fast.
Note: I accommodate chicken as one of the alive brilliant colors because the adaptable Gmail app allows toggling the brilliant on any email, but alone to yellow. Beneath I explain how I use this.
The screenshot of my Gmail shows off assorted labels. Best of these labels are automatically activated application filters. For example, I accept a clarify that applies the characterization “Mgmt” to emails from my administration that looks like this:
I accept added filters and labels for accumulation emails, approval notifications, etc.. I additionally created a characterization alleged “ME” that is auto-applied to all emails that accept my abode in the TO band of the email.
I accept one appropriate characterization alleged “@Waiting” that I add to emails that I accelerate that crave a response. I prefix the “@” attribute so that it sorts to the top of the account of labels. I can administer this characterization manually but I additionally accept a aphorism configured to automatically administer this characterization if I bcc myaddr [email protected] (adding “ w” to my own email address). Since Gmail ignores the “ ” and annihilation afterwards it, the email comes aback to my inbox, hits the filter, the “@waiting” characterization is auto-applied, the email is archived, and it now shows up in my “Waiting on a response” inbox.
I use colors for abounding labels to accomplish them angle out. For example, aback I hover the cursor over the Mgmt label, and bang the baby arrow, I get the afterward dialog:
I additionally set the advantage to “Show if unread” on best labels to declutter the characterization account on the capital Gmail view.
I’ve created assorted filters that handle agenda allure accept/declines, biking updates, non-work-related accumulation notifications, etc., so that they don’t become babble in my inbox. I created rules to auto-archive these emails and administer a specific characterization so I can analysis them as needed. If you attending on the larboard of my capital Gmail screenshot, you’ll see labels for things like, “Google Flights”, “Google SF”, “Forsale”, etc.. I can bang on these labels to analysis the emails. Ideally, every email that gets through my filters and alcove my inbox is pertinent and babble free.
If you aren’t application keyboard shortcuts, you’re alive way too hard. You can about-face on keyboard shortcuts in settings (general tab). To see all of the shortcuts available, columnist “?”. Beneath is the complete account with a red dot beside the ones that I use frequently. My Gmail sessions are about mouse/trackpad free.
A few addendum on these:
This is an breadth that has consistently been a attempt for me. Aback I’m on mobile, I’m about on the move and use my accessory to bound annal through contempo emails. I’ll about annal emails acute no activity so that I don’t face it afresh aback I go aback to desktop. I will additionally sometimes acknowledgment to emails from my adaptable accessory if a abrupt acknowledgment is sufficient.
I use the adaptable Gmail applicant for assignment email because it supports labels and has fractional abutment for starring emails (yellow brilliant only) — two affection that accomplish my desktop set up work. Aback I see an email on my adaptable accessory that is important, I’ll bound tap the brilliant aing to the email. Aback I acknowledgment to my desktop, this email is cat-and-mouse on me in my TODOs Inbox! This tiny affection absolutely smoothed out my desktop to adaptable to desktop flow.
(in the aboriginal adaptation of this blog post, I acclimated red/blue/orange stars, but I afresh abstruse that the adaptable Gmail app sets the chicken star, so I swapped out orange for yellow).
I like Google Inbox, but afterwards aggravating assorted configurations and experiments, I’ve begin that Gmail works bigger for the aerial aggregate of email I administer in my assignment environment.
Since affective to this new set up, my believability with email has gone to 100% (as far as I know!). I now absorb beneath time disturbing to accumulate up with email and added time accomplishing what I adulation accomplishing (and what I’m paid to do)!
Also see the aing post — “Using Gmail like vi — keep your easily on the keyboard”
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