Updated Minimalist Email Organization | Alyssa J Cori: Updated Minimalist Email Organization

August 7, 2019

Updated Minimalist Email Organization

Hi there, my name is Alyssa and I am obsessed with organizing. And when my possessions are already completely minimized and organized, I turn to the digital realm. Since starting my new job at Looker, I am using G-Suite for my primary job, for my side gigs (sales training and content chairing with Women in Sales), and for my personal use. I'm starting to get the hang of managing four emails through Gmail and today I wanted to provide an update to my previous post about Ultimate Minimalist Email Organization.
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I talked in my previous post about using a service called unroll.me to unsubscribe from and consolidate emails from various services. I've now stopped using it because I only get emails from a few retailers and find if I do want to make a purchase it's better for the information to come my way immediately than to wait for it in the daily rollup. 

Differentiating Multiple Accounts

When I'm on my phone I view all inboxes together in the Gmail app. I don't do much emailing from my phone - it's used more to alert me if anything urgent comes up. On my computer I have a different profile picture for each email address and I use different theme colors so I simply know which inbox I'm operating in at a given time. 

I've also changed my work email to "compact" view so I can maximize the number of emails I can view at a time. Click on the gear icon and then display density to change it. 

Labels are the New Folders 

This is the biggest change I've made to my email workflow, by far. I used to be the queen of folders and would file everything. And then I figured out how much time I was wasting and how there was a better way (in my defense, this better way is much easier in Gmail than with the service I was using with IBM). 

Instead of filing emails, I make a few key choices now:
  • If I can respond to something immediately, I take care of it and do it right then. And instead of filing the email, I archive it. This allows me to search for the email if I need to later (and who has a better search function than Google?) and clears out my inbox effectively. 
  • If it's a task that can't be taken care of immediately, I choose one of four labels.
Let's talk about labels, because this has made my life 100x easier. Labels are a way to see what actually needs to be taken care of in your inbox. The four labels I use are: Action Required, Monitor, Response Needed, and Save for Later. 

Action Required means there's something I need to do outside of just responding to the email. Monitor means there's no other action for me to take right now, but that I should follow up (also, starting to experiment with "snoozing" emails and setting reminders for these scenarios, but I don't have enough experience with that yet to comment). Response Needed means I need to reply to the email. Save for Later means I don't need to reply, but may want to reference the email at a future time. 

Emails can have multiple labels depending on their nature and I find it helpful to color coordinate so I can take a quick glance and see how much I'm dealing with. I also put an * in front of each label so they show up first on my list when adding to an incoming message. 

I got a lot of my inspiration from this video. Though it's more of a personal take, you can gather tips and it gives a pretty good illustration of how to do it yourself. 

Do you have any ways that you optimize your inbox? Always looking for ideas on how to make this inevitable part of our jobs better!

-Alyssa J

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