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Best Practices for Organizing Your Inbox

Organizing your inbox can seem overwhelming and time consuming, but it doesn't have to be. Avoid email buildup and a messy inbox by following some of our best practices. Be sure to take the time to watch the end of the year Google Apps Show for even more tips on getting organized!

Filter your incoming mail

The best way to keep your Inbox from being completely overwhelming is to prevent it from filling up in the first place by creating filters. Filters help you deal with messages automatically, making for a more organized inbox.

Turn on the Priority Inbox option

You can train Google's intelligent learning engine to automatically highlight the messages you identify as important by turning on the Priority Inbox option. Priority Inbox initially divides your inbox into three sections, though you can add more customized sections later:

  1. Important and unread—Google Mail initially selects what it identifies as important, and you can refine its decision-making process.
  2. Starred—You can star any messages that need special handling.
  3. Everything else—This is your low-priority mail, though you'll need to review it to assist Google mail in identifying which messages are important.

Touch it once

The most important lesson regarding inbox organization is that Delete or Keep are not your only options. Once you open an email, you should handle it—avoid putting off the decision about what to do with it. Google mail can help you handle the most important emails first. 

  • Sort your email
  • Prioritize your email
  • Archive your email
Sorting, prioritizing, and archiving means you won't lose critical items and you won't clog your inbox with things that aren't useful. The less time you spend in your inbox deciding what to do, the more effective you'll be.