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How to Organize & Clean Your Gmail Inbox (7 Tips)

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Even with all of the Gmail users worldwide, many still find it difficult to keep up with all the thousands of emails they regularly receive. However, there are simple ways to clean your Gmail inbox that will give you much more control. If you find yourself rapidly reaching your storage limit in Gmail, this is for you.

The first one is the simplest: making sure you delete emails you no longer need from your Gmail inbox. If you just leave them in your inbox, you’ll quickly find managing your emails too difficult.

We recommend that you empty your Gmail inbox daily. This does not mean you have to answer every email you receive. However, it means you will have to process every email.

Tip #1: How to delete emails in Gmail

How to delete emails in Gmail

A single message

  1. Open your Gmail account on mobile or desktop.

  2. Open the email you want to delete.

  3. Click Delete (Trash icon).

Delete multiple messages

  1. Open your Gmail inbox on mobile or desktop.

  2. Select all messages you want to move to the trash folder.

  3. To delete specific messages, use the search bar, decide what you want to remove, and click Select all conversations that match this search.

  4. Click Delete (Trash icon).

Delete all emails from Gmail

  1. Open Gmail on desktop (the Gmail app doesn’t let you delete all messages)

  2. Click the Down arrow in the top left.

  3. Select All. If the emails appear over more than one page, click Select all conversations.

  4. Click Delete (Trash icon).

Tip #2: Don’t get bogged down with emails

Read every email once and ask yourself if it requires some form of action. This will ensure you constantly maintain a clean Gmail inbox and stay on top of your messages.

If you are being asked to do something, there are three actions you can take:

Action the email immediately

If you can do what is being requested in less than two minutes, you look responsive. It also takes an item off your to-do list.

Pass the task to someone else

If someone else is better equipped to answer a request, pass it on. Remember to focus on where you add value and offload everything else.

Decide you will do the task later

Only do this if you can’t action the email quickly or pass it onto someone else. Add the task to your to-do list or schedule a specific time you will complete it.

If you can’t action the email (i.e. the email is not requesting that you do something, or you have already taken the appropriate action), choose from these two options:

  • Delete it – If you won’t need the information later, delete the email from your Gmail inbox.

  • File it – If you might need to refer to the email later, file it under one folder that is called “Completed Emails”. It is not wise to create an elaborate series of folders as it will make the email more difficult to find in the future.

Tip #3: Create email rules to filter low-priority messages

For example, you can set up a rule where emails that you are just copied into (CCed) are automatically moved to a separate folder. This is so they don’t clutter up your main Gmail inbox.

Another example would be setting up a solicited bulk email folder for email newsletters, receipts, and other automatically generated material. By setting up rules, you ensure that you focus only on the most important emails that you receive.

In the end, a little extra effort with how you deal with emails will save you time and make sure that you can control your workflow.

Tip #4: Monitor employee email usage

Detect unproductive email usage by viewing reports on email usage, number of emails sent and received, and the size and type of attachments sent by each employee.

Also, ensure that no one is sending inappropriate content that goes against your Acceptable Usage Policy for emails. This is particularly important if your company uses G Suite (now Google Workspace).

Tip #5: Use the Four Ds

Stop your Gmail inbox taking over your life by remembering the Four Ds:

  • Delete – Deal with unnecessary emails as soon as possible, particularly by unsubscribing from or blocking useless spam emails.

  • Defer – Schedule a time in your diary to deal with the email later.

  • Delegate – Pass the email on to another team member to deal with.

  • Deal with it – If you need to save the email, move it to a designated file folder and get it out of your main inbox. If it’s a task that needs to be done, schedule it for completion.

Tip #6: Don’t keep checking emails

Only check your emails once or twice a day in order to remain as productive as possible. Don’t continually check your emails unless you get an urgent message that needs to be actioned immediately.

Try and only check your Gmail inbox at certain times of the day unless you are dealing with urgent matters.

Tip #7: Provide new employee training

When a new member joins your team, get them up to speed as soon as possible on Gmail best practices. They will reach the same productivity levels as other team members quicker if they don’t have to constantly battle their email workload.

Summary

Ensuring you maintain a clean Gmail inbox is an important part of general email management. Combining all of these tips into your day-to-day work life will make taming your inbox far easier. You’ll then find that you have more time to focus on other activities rather than constantly being lost in a sea of emails.

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