How I Use Gmail Filters To Be More Productive
I have such a love/hate relationship with digital messaging. It makes it so easy to do business all around the world in both a fast and cheap way. (I’m old enough to remember the faff of trying to send faxes internationally….).
But it is also the plague of productivity. It’s really hard to create great work when you spend the day playing table tennis in your inbox.
I also hate to do something manually (or pay someone else to do it) when there is a simple tech solution.
I love Gmail & G Suite (which used to be called Google Apps) for the ability to access email and documents anywhere on any device. No idea what G Suite is? Imagine Gmail but with your own domain name, across multiple users in your business. So your email looks like firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com
One of the other great things about Gmail is the filtering system you can set up. The idea behind it is to remove incoming emails from your main inbox. I use it for a few different ways
1) To manage emails from certain senders
Most of the email newsletter lists I’m on all go into a newsletter folder in Gmail. I sign up with a variation on my main email address. Then once a week or so I can spend 30 minutes browsing through this folder and catching up on useful but non-essential content. It also makes it really easy to tell when people have subscribed me to a list that I didn’t want to be on, as they use my main email.
2) To automatically forward emails to another address
One of the annoying missing features I’ve found on every sort of email management software I’ve tried is the ability to mass select a load of emails and then forward then on to one recipient. (If you know of software that will do this, then let me know…). Instead, I’ve set up filters to automatically forward emails from certain senders. The most useful use case for me is for online invoices. As someone who runs a digital ad agency alongside the EBA, I have a lot of software tools that I use, most of which invoice each month. I use Receipt Bank to automagically send these invoices into my accounts software but how do they get into Receipt Bank in the first place? You guessed it, Gmail filters.
3) To send naughty people to the spam bin
For those awful companies that break every email law in the book, bombard you with emails but give no option to unsubscribe and don’t respond when you ask them to stop. A simple filter sending them straight to junk makes life a lot easier.
If only cleaning the house was as easy as filtering an inbox…
Hopefully, I’ve persuaded you how useful filters can be to streamline your inbox. If you’d like to give it a try, you’ll find them in the settings section of your Gmail inbox. Click on the gear cog in the top right corner and then go to the filters and blocked addresses section.
Let me know how you get on and if you have your own email inbox taming tips, share them in the comments section below.