It’s an elusive concept.
...or is it?
It can sometimes be controversial, the whole inbox zero concept. When it’s done not in a stressful or obsessive way, it can be really good. I’m a huge inbox zero (or almost zero) fan and love the peace of mind and the amount of stress it reduces seeing how little there is in my inbox.
Currently the only things that are in my inbox are things just arrived (unread), that need response, or are upcoming meetings. On average I’ll have less than 10 email in my inbox per day. The majority of emails that chill in my inbox are emails from Acuity letting me know about upcoming meetings.
When I was on the lookout for how to organize my inbox (and not just create a bazillion folders), I discovered that Gmail has a setting called “Priority Inbox”. It’s hidden in the settings, but once you find it, it’s like hitting a gold mine.
Make your labels and determine your inbox sections
Before we dive into the good stuff (who am I kidding it’s all good stuff) you’ll want to make sure you’ve created all of the labels you’d like to have in your email account. Sure you’ll probably add or delete some later, but for now let’s get your basics setup.
Take a peek at the labels I use
Clients - Archived
Learn + Grow
Swipe F iles
Determine your inbox sections
Now it’s time to figure out what 4 sections you want to see in your inbox. You can choose to see any label you’ve set as well as unread emails, read emails, and so much more. Currently I have my sections set to...
Everything else (these are all of your opened emails that are in your inbox)
How to setup multiple inboxes in your gmail inbox
A little known secret is the Gmail labs
Click the gear in the top and select “settings”
Once you’re in the settings you’ll choose the tab “Advanced” and find the Multiple Inboxes option, and choose “enable”. Make sure to scroll to the bottom and click “Save Changes”!
Back at the top, click on the tab “Inbox” and change the Inbox Type to “Priority Inbox” in the dropdown menu.
Time to set up your Inbox Sections — these are the categories you’ll see in your new inbox
In space 1 click “options” and click “more options…” to see the new labels you’ve created. Choose the label you want to appear first in your inbox.
Repeat this for space 2, 3, and 4.
Now your inbox will show those 4 sections (or up to 4 sections) and any emails that are in them. If there isn’t an email in them at the moment the section won’t show, but soon as an email gets in there it’ll reappear. I love this feature because if I’m trying to focus on a certain section and I don’t want to be distracted by say the “upcoming meetings” section I can minimize it and it’ll hide the emails in there.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this mini inbox series where I’ll share the exact steps I do to get to (almost) inbox zero. P.S. it includes filters and Boomerang!