9 Tips to Organize Emails in Gmail


April 22, 2021

Tips to organize emails in Gmail

If you’re like most business professionals, you probably feel like you spend too much time in Gmail.

If you don’t know the best way to organize emails in Gmail, you can end up with an inbox that takes a ton of time to manage — the average is more than 2.5 hours per day!

All that time spent on email is time you can’t spend doing other, more important parts of your job. It can also make work boring, stressful and unproductive.

Learning how to organize emails in Gmail can help boost your productivity while making your work more less stressful.

Here are 10 tricks you can use to level up on how you use Gmail.

1. Customize Your Inbox Sorting Method

Organize emails in Gmail
[Source: Google Blog]

The best way to organize emails in Gmail is probably not in the order they’re received. Some are important, while others are can wait. Letting spam mail pile up on top of your critical emails makes for a stressful, inefficient workflow.

Instead, consider customizing your inbox sorting method. Head to Settings, then view the Inbox tab.

You can choose from a number of preset inbox type options:

  • Default: Displays emails in the order they’re received, the layout we’re most familiar with, but not the most efficient one for most users.
  • Important first: Displays the emails Gmail predicts will be most important to you (based on the senders, open and reply rates, important keywords, and past user actions for similar emails.)
  • Unread first: Displays unread messages first, with all your other read messages down below. This is a favorite Gmail layout for those who work through unread mail as their to-do list.
  • Starred first: Displays messages you starred first, with other mail down below. You can create your own to-do list using this layout and starring the messages you need to work through first.
  • Priority Inbox: Displays messages in multiple sections, such as important and unread, starred, important and read, and everything else. You can further customize this inbox view to suit your needs.
  • Multiple Inboxes: Displays messages for up to 5 different inboxes. You can create a custom inbox for a sender, organize your own to-do list, or combine multiple email accounts in one view.

2. Hide Tabs You Don’t Use from View

Tips to organize emails in Gmail

The Gmail Category feature can be helpful for some users, sorting and displaying messages in up to 5 different tabs:

  • Primary
  • Social
  • Promotions
  • Updates
  • Forums

But if you don’t use these tabs, they could just be cluttering up your inbox. Disabling unwanted tabs is simple.

Head to Settings, view the Inbox tab, and uncheck the categories you don’t want. The only one you can’t disable is the Primary tab.

Note: Your messages won’t be lost if you delete the tab they’re currently sorted in. These messages just move to the Primary tab.

3. Use Labels to Organize Your Messages

Gmail inbox organization filters

Using Gmail Labels is a great way to organize emails in Gmail. Technically speaking, Gmail doesn’t use folders, meaning your Inbox, Drafts, Trash and other “folders” are technically Labels.

You can start customizing your Gmail organization by heading to Settings, then selecting the Labels tab. You have the option to show or hide all of your labels from your inbox view in the label list.

If you want to create your own labels rules, you can do so by choosing a message and clicking the label icon. You can choose to apply an existing label to a message or create a new label.

You can also create labels for future messages based on filtering rules by heading to Settings, then Filters and Blocked Addresses, and creating a new filter.

4. Nest Labels for Added Organization

Nest labels to organize emails in Gmail

There’s no limit for how to organize emails in Gmail using the Labels feature. In fact, you can nest labels for even more organization.

To nest one label underneath another one, you can edit one of the labels and choose a parent label it will become nested under. When you create a new label, you also have the option to nest it under an existing parent label.

5. Archive Mail and Move It Out of the Way

archive email gmail

If you are like many people, you may not want to leave all your messages in your inbox after you have dealt with them. Perhaps you want to move them out of your inbox so you can get to “inbox zero.”

The Archive Mail feature is a great tool to help you do this. Just select one or more email messages and then click the folder with the arrow.

Archiving messages is a much better solution in most cases than deleting your old messages. Everything you move to your archives remains searchable, so you can find an old message again if you need it.

6. Automate Common Tasks With Filters

Gmail organization automation

A lot of professionals find managing their Gmail pretty repetitive. But you can use this to your advantage by automating common tasks you perform all the time using Gmail’s Filter feature.

For example, you can save a lot of time by telling Gmail to automate these tasks:

  • Mark a message as important
  • Mark a message as read
  • Star a message
  • Categorize a message
  • Apply a label to a message
  • Forward a message
  • Delete a message
  • Archive a message

7. Skip the Inbox With Filtering Rules

Gmail inbox filtering

Filtering rules can especially be helpful if you are an “inbox zero” kind of person who doesn’t want unnecessary messages clogging up your inbox.

With the Filter feature you can use Archive to skip the inbox altogether. Use this for newsletters, receipts, and any other message that can skip the inbox. Since filtering rules can work in combination, you can also mark the message as read and apply labels as needed.

8. Delegate Your Account to a Colleague

Delegate Gmail to someone

In some cases, multiple people may need access to the same Gmail inbox, either because you work as part of a team or because you just want to continue to organize emails in Gmail while you take a vacation.

Either way, you can use Gmail’s feature to grant access to the account so that you can delegate your email to a colleague.

It’s another little-known trick that can help you stay on top of your email and it’s built right into Gmail.

9. AI-Powered Gmail Organization

Gmail is great software on its own, but it’s even better when you incorporate AI that transforms your inbox based on how you work.

With Folio, you can organize your Gmail inbox without having to manually set up filters, labels and other Gmail customizations.

Folio’s AI-powered algorithms do the organizing for you, sorting your Gmail inbox and bringing more of your workflow right into your inbox.

Folio is free to manage up to 3 projects. Click here to try Folio today.

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We've built Folio: the first AI email assistant for professionals.

Folio plugs directly into your work email inbox and automatically organizes your email, giving you contextual access to all the information you need to increase your productivity in minutes.

We are a team of passionate product people and engineers that gets excited about solving complex processes and creating value for people.

We're a venture funded company backed by Accel Partners, Vertical Venture Partners, and other leading venture capital firms and angel investors such as Ash Patel and Jerry Yang.


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