How to Get to Inbox Zero in Gmail, Once and for All

Trending 1 week ago

We’re inundated pinch email regular — making it difficult to support way of tasks and negociate your workflow. However, organizing your emails doesn’t person to beryllium a pain. In fact, it’s imaginable to get your Gmail inbox to zero successful arsenic small arsenic 15 minutes.

 image shows personification opinionated adjacent a stack of envelopes

While we can’t extremity caller emails from coming in, we tin thief you shape it better.

 The Beginner's Guide to Email Marketing [Free Ebook]

I stumbled upon Andreas Klinger’s inbox zero method for Gmail years agone and his method still useful for maine to this day. In this post, I'll show you really to shape your Gmail inbox according to Klinger's method truthful it's clean, systematized, and easy to navigate — making you a much efficient, productive, and wide happier quality being. I'll besides show you really I adapted his labeling strategy for contented marketers.

Skip to:

  • Zero Inbox Methodology Overview
  • Zero Inbox Step-By-Step Guide

How to Get to Inbox Zero successful Gmail

Before we get into nan nitty-gritty, let's spell complete nan basal methodology:

  • You group up aggregate inboxes successful Gmail and springiness each of them a name, for illustration "Needs Action/Reply" and "Awaiting Response."
  • Your wide inbox will past look connected nan left, and your branded inboxes (which Gmail calls "panes") will look connected nan right, for illustration so:

inbox zero

  • You cognize that yellowish prima icon you tin property to people an email arsenic important? Turns retired you tin move connected different colored stars and icons successful Gmail, too, for illustration bangs (i.e. exclamation points)and mobility marks. Gmail calls these icons "special stars." In this methodology, each pane is represented by a different typical star.
  • Every clip you get a caller email successful your inbox, you'll want to:
    • Reply to nan ones you tin correct away. For those you want to support way of arsenic "Awaiting Reply" aliases "Delegated," people pinch nan due typical star.
    • Label nan emails you request to woody pinch later by marking them pinch nan due typical star.
    • For nan ones that you don't request to woody pinch aliases aren't current, either archive them without typical stars aliases delete them entirely.
  • In nan end, archive everything. This way, your inbox stays astatine zero and everything other is either successful its designated pane, archived, aliases deleted.

The result? A cleanable inbox that's easy to navigate and lets you triage caller emails pinch small effort.

Here's really to group this up successful Gmail.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Getting to Inbox Zero successful Gmail

Step 1: Prepare for your caller inbox layout.

To make this full process work, you'll request to get free of nan Social and Promotions tabs. (Pro Tip: If you're worried astir getting an onslaught of societal notifications and promotional emails successful your inbox each day, past return this opportunity to set up filters truthful your societal notifications are automatically archived aliases deleted, and wide unsubscribe to nan promotional emails you don't publication utilizing a instrumentality for illustration Unroll.Me.)

In "Settings," spell to nan "Inbox" tab and do nan following:

  1. Change nan Inbox Type to "Default."
  2. Deselect each nan tabs (except "Primary").
  3. Choose "No Markers."
  4. Choose either "Use my past actions..." aliases "Don't usage my actions..." — it won't straight impact your caller system.
  5. Choose "Don't Override Filters."

gmail setting

gmail setting

Click "Save Changes," and Gmail will automatically reload.

Step 2: Make nan show density of your inbox compact.

Click nan cogwheel icon and take "Compact" from nan dropdown menu.

compact density

Step 3: Enable aggregate inboxes.

Click nan cogwheel icon and take "Settings" from nan dropdown menu. Go to nan "Labs" tab, and alteration aggregate inboxes. (These are nan different"panes.")

enable aggregate inboxes

Scroll to nan bottommost and click"SaveChanges."

Step 4: Turn connected nan correct typical stars.

In "Settings," spell to nan "General" tab and scroll down until you spot nan conception branded "Stars." Add nan stars you want to usage to correspond each of your panes.

As a contented marketer, I chose:

  • Yellow bang: for "Needs Action/Reply"
  • Red bang: for "Needs Action/Reply" items that are urgent
  • Purple mobility mark: for "Awaiting Reply" (so I tin travel up if needed)
  • Greenstar: for "To Write"
  • Bluestar: for "To Edit"
  • Orange guillemet (double arrow): for "Delegate," meaning emails I delegated to personification other (so I tin travel up if needed)

choose typical stars

Not a contented marketer? Klinger uses nan pane names "Needs Action/Reply," "Awaiting Reply," "Delegated," and "Scheduled" (for arranged meetings, flights, arena tickets, scheduled calls, and thing other he mightiness request to reference quickly).

Scroll to nan bottommost and click "Save Changes."

Step 5: Set up filters to propulsion emails pinch your typical stars into nan correct panes.

In "Settings," spell to nan "Multiple Inboxes" tab. Each sheet represents 1 of your aggregate inboxes (up to 5), and you tin sanction and put them immoderate measurement you choose.

Here's what I did:

multiple inbox names

Notice really I utilized "OR" truthful different stars could spell into nan aforesaid pane: yellowish bang for important action items and reddish bang for urgent action items.

Here's a database of each nan imaginable hunt queries:

Pro Tip: If you usage nan Gmail mobile app frequently, Klinger suggests utilizing nan default yellowish prima for important action items because it's nan only typical prima supported by nan mobile app.

While you're still successful nan "Multiple Inboxes" tab, make nan maximum page size immoderate you'd for illustration (I do 20 conversations per page), and position panels connected nan correct broadside of nan inbox.

other sheet options

Click "Save Changes," and you'll beryllium taken backmost to your inbox.

Now for nan nosy part.

The Road to Inbox Zero

Everything you've done to this constituent is to group yourself up for getting to an quiet inbox. Right now, you're astir apt looking astatine hundreds, possibly thousands of emails successful your inbox.

Don't beryllium overwhelmed.

You will get to zero, but you request to return attraction of it correct now. It's really not that hard. And spot me, it feels good. Here are Klinger's adjuvant instructions:

Go done nan first 2 aliases 3 pages of your inbox.

Do 1 of 3 things pinch each email:

  1. Mark it pinch a typical star, and past archive it. This will nonstop it to nan due pane while removing it from your wide inbox.
  2. Archive it without utilizing a typical star. This will support nan email saved, but it'll clear it from nan location page.
  3. Delete it.

One of nan champion parts astir typical stars (as opposed to labels) is that you don't request to click into an email aliases travel aggregate steps to people it pinch a typical star.

Instead, simply click nan blank prima to nan correct of nan sender sanction — and support clicking to scroll done each your typical stars until you onshore connected nan 1 you want.

It'll return a fewer seconds, but that email will past show up successful nan due pane. Remember to archive nan email erstwhile you've marked it pinch a typical prima truthful it clears from your wide inbox.

Once you've gone done nan first fewer pages of your inbox and you consciousness for illustration you don't person immoderate much important emails, it's clip for what Klinger calls "the daring move."

Archive everything else.

Select each of your emails by clicking nan cheque container connected nan apical left. Confirm that you really did mean each those thousands of emails, not conscionable nan existent page.

Then, click "Archive."



Tadaa! You’re finished. I've been capable to support an quiet inbox beautiful easy ever since. Emails aren't slipping done nan cracks for illustration they sometimes utilized to. I'm besides capable to support amended way of each nan emails I've sent that request a reply aliases that I person to travel up connected successful immoderate way. Use this method to declutter your inbox and amended shape your workflow.

Editor's note: This article was primitively published successful June 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

New Call-to-action

Source Marketing