I almost called this “3 Ways to Be Your Own Inbox Hero” but then I thought maybe that was too campy but then can anything actually be “too campy”??? Plus, ya know, SEO and all that.
Here’s the thing: Inbox Zero is an elusive vixen for most of us. She’s always right there, just a few clicks away and then BAM! another missive lands in the ol’ inbox and she’s off out of sight again. Ohhhh she’s a cruel one, indeed.
You know the tale of Inbox Zero all too well. And you might have already joined me for GMail School (you did, right? it’s free, ya know. get into it.). But keeping up with an ever-growing inbox is a regular task and maintenance is required.
1) Canned Responses. Want to respond to those incoming emails in mere seconds? You need Canned Responses. In your GMail settings there’s a tab called Labs. Head on over there, search “Canned Responses” and then hit “Enable”. Voila! You’re one step closer to typing freedom.
Next, go compose an email and you’ll see a little arrow at the bottom of the screen. Click that arrow and some canned response prompts will show up. Once you’ve typed your email you send all the time, save it as a canned response. When you want to re-use that same missive, click that arrow and add it in to your email window. Give it a little customization flair and it’s ready to roll.
It’s like this:
2) Filters. You know how a good coffee filter keeps the grounds out of your coffee and a nice parental control filter keeps the Playboy channel from coming up when your 6 year old is surfing channels? Email filters are equally the bomb at keeping things right where they belong – out of your inbox.
In fact, filtering is so crucial to waking up to Inbox Zero on the regular that it’s in Day 1 of GMail School (yep, you can go ahead and sign up by clicking right here).
Filters in your inbox take incoming email and filter it into an assigned folder for you to check on later. When you’re running a business with multiple clients or are part of an email chain with 12 of your cousins, filters come in suuuuuper handy. Filtering is the #1 way to take control of your inbox. You’re no longer ruled by the ping of incoming email (you DID turn off your email notifications, didn’t you?) and you can check on emails in each folder when you have the time set aside to focus on that project. Instant productivity points earned. Yeah, I heard that sigh of relief.
3) Unsubscribe. I know, it’s hard to let go. But, just as my cool Aunt Diane said when my first boyfriend broke my heart, “If you love someone, sometimes you just have to let them go.”
Okay, maybe it’s not like that with the 84 email lists you subscribe to (I see you) but you have GOT to let some of those go. I’m not going to tell you to unsubscribe from them all, but you know which emails you actually read. I have about 6 that I actually open and read (almost) every week. The rest languish away in my Newsletters folder acting like I’m going to read them one day (again, I see you). As it turns out, you’re doing your friends a favor by unsubscribing from their unread newsletters.
Many email providers will start to see a sender as spam if their emails are going unread by a large number of the recipients. I don’t know how it all works exactly so please don’t ask. All I know is that open/read rates matter and I like helping people. You too? Here’s what you can do.
Set a timer for 8 minutes. Head over to your newsletter folder and gather up the emails you are ready to unsubscribe from. Open, scroll to the bottom, and hit that unsub button. Feel the freedom of that clean inbox.
And that’s it! Filters, Canned Responses, and Unsubscribing will help you blow through your inbox each day with a little more ease. If you want even more ways to manage the chaos (plus in depth tutorials on how to make these 3 happen), be sure to join GMail School today!