I've been using Gmail for a long time now and every so often I go through and see if my Category folder names still make sense to me. I want them to match my folders in Dropbox and on my PC.
This is what I have at present and I'm pretty happy with them…at the moment:
Sub folders: One for each client with the client Company name as the heading
Sub folders: Tax, Banking, Accounting
Sub folders: Asana, CRMs, Website, Mailchimp
I've also changed the way I was filing my Newsletters subscriptions, now I just have all of them go into the Categories that Gmail have generically set up ie Promotions and Updates. The other two generic Categories, Social & Forums are where any notifications from the various social media channels and different forums that I belong to are filed.
Using these Categories keeps your emails all very neatly sorted and makes sense. You can also create your own labels. It's also a good habit to get into to make these folders and subfolders relate to your computer and Dropbox folder naming conventions.
You should also at least once every 3 months go through your Newsletter subscriptions and unsubscribe to ones that don't serve any purpose for you anymore.
And clear your Spam or Junk folder daily, it only takes a couple of seconds!
Want a quick way to make you feel good about the state of your Inbox?
How about marking all of your emails as read? It's pretty simple to do, but a bit hard to find in Gmail.
To mark all as read in your inbox or any folder:
1. Check the square box at the top of the list of emails and it selects all on that page.
2. You'll see a message across the top of the list of emails that says something like: 'All 25 conversations on this page are selected. Select all 392 conversations in Inbox
3. If you choose the sentence 'Select all...' the message becomes 'All 392 conversations in Inbox are selected'. Clear selection
4. Next choose the button 'Mark as read' and a pop up box appears that says 'Confirm bulk action' Press OK.
Can never find that email about such and such, from that client, you know how?
The one good thing about Gmail is that to search for an email, there are many ways to do it by using the 'search box' at the top of the list of emails.
For example if you want to find all the emails from Instagram you can use the initial search dropdown menu that is to the right hand side of the search box at the top of the list of emails. Here you'll also see a dropdown box for searching all your folders next to the word 'Search'.
You can also create filters for what you'd like to happen to emails if you click on 'Create filter' with this search . As you can see from the image below there a lot of options to choose from as to what you want to happen to existing emails and also future ones.
Can't be bothered or have the time to manage your emails?
Here are some of the things that Secret Secretary can do for you:
1. Reply on your behalf and keep your mailbox sorted with remote access using Gmail
2. Sort your emails into manageable folders with titles that make sense to you
3. Create a series of template emails for response for different parts of your business
4. Use your vernacular or write in a manner that suits your brand
5. Be the conduit between you and your clients so that you have more time to do what you do best
6. Coded emails or sms (Urgent, FYI, For Followup or Action) forwarded to you each day so you can sift through the urgent and non-urgent messages
7. Create tasks directly from email or calendar entries and load them into cloud based organiser systems like Evernote or Asana to keep you organised and on time.
Now I challenge you to do at least one of the things I've talked about this week and let me know how you go. Let me know of any tips or hints you use with Gmail.
Till next time, let's get you organised and make your life easier!
Shauna Upson, the founder of Secret Secretary started her business in 2010 as a Virtual Assistant.