This may be of help to you; robbed from here: Coen Jacobs
Filters and labels
Besides it’s flexibility and being available via the web, the filters and labels are the greatest features in Gmail. The greatest thing about it, is that they work together like a charm.
I receive dozens of emails each day, about new comments on blogs that I follow, or one of my own blogs. With a filter and a single label, Gmail puts those in one page to review them later. Now my Gmail account contains over 30 filters and about 10 labels, all to result in the ultimate goal; a clean inbox with as less effort as possible. That’s my ultimate goal and the purpose of what I’m doing.
Besides email that I expect, there is ‘fresh’ email from everyone who is trying to contact me. Total strangers, or people that I haven’t mailed with before, will pop in into my Gmail account blank.
But colleagues are a different story. For groups of people that I regularly work with, you probably guessed it already, I have some filters and a label. The colours get my attention, just like they should.
The labels and filters are the system that you can’t go without when you receive over 100 emails each day. 100 emails a day can be quite a frustration, imagine what will happen to you when you reach 1.000 mails a day like Darren does!
Archiving after labelling
Besides labelling there is another feature that I’m using often in my filters. Some mail is fun to receive, but not always important enough to pop in into your inbox. A good filter labels these emails and instantly sends them to the archive. It won’t pop in your inbox, but it’s easy to find it again.
I’m using this trick for example for; emails about new shouts on Digg.com, new friend requests on social networks and so on. I read these emails, but they aren’t important enough to interupt my work by popping in, into my inbox.
Important mail goes first
As I mentioned before, I have a label for different people. Email from people that are important to me, pop into my inbox with a label that gets my attention, or even get a star. A star is like a ‘flag’ in Outlook and some other email clients, it grabs your attention at first sight.
Stars are wonderful for:
- Creating list of email that you need to look into again, or just still need to reply on.
- Finding back important email, even when you’ve archived it.
- Keeping track on conversations, that require just that extra bit of attention.
And probably even more purposes suite the stars right. Email from my girlfriend just pops in as a starred email. Anything for keeping her a happy girl, right?
Prevent unwanted mail from popping in
Gmail deals with most of the spam, but there is another threat to be found in newsletters. After I configured my filters and labels, it became obvious that newsletters are almost as frustrating as spam is. To tackle this problem, you need to start erasing it from the roots.
Newsletters that you hardly read are a waste of your time. As most newsletters provide a link to unsubscribe, that’s where you have to start your search.
But not only newsletters can be a real pain in the ass. What to think about your social networks that keep on sending you emails about new friend requests. When you visit Digg.com two to three times a day, these emails become a waste of your time and are ready to be disabled.
Gmail labs go beyond the normal features
With Gmail as a solid email-’client’, you can work the way you want to. The labs function Google recently added to Gmail, finishes Gmail totally. Gmail Labs adds little pieces of functionality that aren’t ready to be released in public yet, but can be used to test them properly.
Most of these functions work great, so I didn’t hessitate to start using them. Take a look around, Gmail Labs give you little things that I was really missing in Gmail (standardly).
Your own (creative) way of emailing
These tricks can be used by yourself, but you’re own creative way of managing your email is always the best. Perhaps you find it annoying that Gmail does not allow you to create separate folders to store your email, or anything else. But once you’re really looking for a nice way to clean your inbox, filters and labels really are the way to go!
Let me know in the comment what you think is working great in Gmail. I’m curious about new ways of cleaning inboxes, using stars, filters and labels!