Are you drowning in email? Have you given up trying to get control of the Inbox of DEATH? Do you lay awake at night, knitting your hands, furrowing your brow, and feeling tiny beads of sweat rolling across your forehead as you reel about the hundreds, thousands, or TENS OF THOUSANDS (you know who you are) of emails waiting unread, unchecked, unarchived and undeleted in your inbox? The glut of your inbox won’t be the end of you. It won’t cause age spots, it won’t give you high triglycerides, and it won’t cause love handles. It won’t, that is, if you can take control! Never fear, gmail is here! Gmail knows that Inbox Zero isn’t just a myth like the Loch Ness Monster or one-size-fits-all clothing. Gmail knows it’s not a fallacy. Gmail knows it can be done! If you use Gmail, then you can clean up your email life and start fresh (like a daisy, we swear). Here’s how.
First, make sure you have the new default inbox enabled, so your email is sorted into Primary, Social, Promotions and Updates tabs (go to “settings” and click on the “inbox” tab to make any adjustments). This will help you to quickly get rid of the emails you really don’t need to read, now or, you know, ever. Start with your “Social” tab. This is just usually full of notifications from social platforms you are active on. You know … you have been tagged, mentioned, etc. You’re already seen the notifications on your phone, or someplace else; why do you need an email, too? You can stop these in the notification settings in the social platforms, but if you insist on getting the notifications by email, you can delete them all easily after you have seen them. Click the select all button on the top left right above “Primary” tab. You can delete page by page if you feel like you need to glance through as you go. OR you can do a bulk DELETE if you are comfortable with that. When you have selected “ALL”, every email will be highlighted and a yellow bar will pop up at the top asking if you want to select ALL email in that tab. IF you do this you can clean out the tab in one fell swoop (this is super-satisfying, by the way)!
Continue to the “Promotions” tab. If you have been training your inbox and moving the important mail to the primary tab then these should all be emails trying to sell you something. DELETE them! You can doooooooo eeeeeeeet!
Next, move to the “Updates” tab. Again, you should find that if you have trained your email correctly these are emails you can DELETE. If you haven’t been keeping up with putting the important things in “Primary” then you can do it now. Drag and drop. Go through the last few months in each tab. If you feel confident that you have the important emails filed away or in “Primary,” then DELETE everything in the other tabs. If you just can’t bring yourself to do it then here is the trick to get to zero: create an “Old Mail” label and move it all there. I almost guarantee you will never look at it and in a few months you will be ready to let it go and hit that delete button.
Now, we are down to the “Primary” tab. These are the emails that are most likely real emails from real people. File them or, if they are really not that important, DELETE. If you just can’t let go (and you really can, but hey … baby steps) …. use the “Old Mail” file. You should now be at ZERO! Now keep it that way! Use the tabs to delete groups of email that you don’t need and file the rest!
UPDATE: For more ideas on how to reach inbox ZERO check out this article “Finally Reach Inbox ZERO” by Hubspot!
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