How I Conquered My Inbox

If you’re like me, you have multiple email accounts, each of which is filling up with more and more emails. If you’re also like me, it feels like I can never quite keep on top of them.

After having my 2nd child in November I realized I only have about two hours a day that I can work on things in a day. I have to make the most of that time, which means keeping my email from getting out of hand.

So I looked around and found a workflow by Andreas Klinger. It uses a couple of built-in features in Gmail that, for the past month, have worked flawlessly for me.

The basics are:

  • Turn on “Multiple Inboxes”
  • Set filters based on the “Star” for those inboxes
  • Disable all the helpful filtering (Updates, Promotions, Forums, etc.)

What happens now is when an email comes in, I either respond immediately, or put the correct star on it with a few clicks, and archive. That puts the email to the correct section where I can keep an eye on it. This workflow has allowed me to keep my primary inbox empty and all those other email inboxes trim as well. I work through my to-do emails throughout the day, mark others that I’m waiting on someone else, and move calendar invites to the appropriate section. I can see at a glance what is going on, and that is perfect.

If you’re having trouble keeping up with email, I’d recommend giving it a shot. It has freed up a lot of time and energy for me to focus on what I need to do.