We all know that email is a huge source of overwhelm for many solopreneurs, and also one of the biggest time drains. However, email is essential to a solopreneur’s success, so you have to find a way of organizing your emails. If organized properly you’ll quickly and easily be able to:
Focus on the top priority emails first
Skim your emails and see which ones need your attention
Get quick and easy access
Now, I’m a huge Outlook fan and have written about how you can organize your Outlook inbox through setting up Rules and Filters. But recently, due to a LOT of business and personal travel which has taken me away from my office, I’ve had to work off my laptop, which posed the question of how do I access my emails? Gmail was the obvious answer – I simply forward all of my email accounts on to my Gmail account and voila! I have access to all of my emails!
All of a sudden all the wonderful rules and filters I’d created in Outlook didn’t, obviously, transfer to Gmail, and so I ended up with this huge glob of emails in my Gmail account… and I mean there were hundreds. So, the Queen of Office Organization suddenly found herself overwhelmed by emails!
Gmail Filters and Labels.
With a bit of research I found I could easily recreate the rules and filters I’d set up in my Outlook account to also work in my Gmail account – they’re just called Filters and Labels in Gmail. And once I knew how to do this organizing my emails became a cinch!
So, here’s how you can do this in your own Gmail account too:
1: In your Gmail account, click on Options > Mail Settings.
2: Click on the Filters link.
3: Click on Create a New Filter link.
4: At this screen you can now specify your filter criteria. It can be anything:
From a specific email address
To a specific email address
With certain words in the subject line
Specify certain words etc.
5: Once you’ve specified your criteria click on Next Step email without phone number.
6: On your next screen you then say what you want to happen with your email:
Skip the Inbox – this is an essential part of the filtering process. If you want to actually Move your email as it arrives so it ends up in an alternate folder (which is another name for a Label) then you want to make sure this box is ticked. If you don’t tick it you’ll end up with two copies of your email – one in your Inbox and the other assigned to your Label.
Apply the Label – this is also another essential part of the filtering process. This is where you automatically assign a Label to an email and, if you’ve selected Skip the Inbox, your email will be assigned directly to this Label. From here you can also create a new Label.
There are also other options you can choose here too, but the ones I use the most are Skip the Inbox and Apply the Label.
7: You can also apply your newly created filter to other emails that meet your criteria. Simply check the box that says Also apply filter to X message below.
8: Click on Create Filter and you’re done!
You can create as many Filters and Labels as you want. Some examples of different Filters/Labels you may want to create are for:
Social media notifications
New subscriber notifications
New order notifications
This is just one of the many systems that are simple to create and yet make a HUGE difference in the overall success of your business. Once you’ve taken control of your emails you’ll become much more productive and efficient website.
(c) 2011 Tracey Lawton