We’ve been talking about Gmail and how to be more organized and more productive with our inbox, which is super important because we get emails all day, and we want to be sure we can stay in contact with everybody- it means we get more done and they get more done.

So I want to talk about something called the “inbox zero methodology,” which means that a priority within email use is to keep the inbox number at zero, so that we aren’t stuck using our inbox as a task list, accumulating hundreds (or thousands) of emails over time, leaving your email experience very unorganized.


So right now we can see in my inbox that I have 3 emails. My goal is to take these 3 emails and make sure they get categorized and archived so that the main inbox number becomes “0” again.


The trick is to have two labels: “Action” and “Awaiting Response.” In a past video we talked about label creation, so I’m just going to quickly follow those steps to create them.

Now that the labels have been created, I’m going to pick the email I’m interested in categorizing, and after looking it over I can see that this is an email that requires further action. So I’m just going to add the “Action” label to it.

Moving on I can see my next email requires a reply from me. So once I’ve sent my reply off, I’ll also go ahead and label it “Awaiting Response,” because I’m now waiting for the sender to respond to me.

My last message I’ll look at is clearly just an automated list of tips, which requires no response or action from me. So once I’ve read it and gotten what I need now, I’ll go ahead and instead of labeling it “Action” or “Awaiting Response,” I’ll just archive the email by clicking the “Archive” button above the message area.

Like I said, the point is to get your inbox to zero, and as you can see, my “Awaiting Response” email is still sitting in my inbox. So instead of leaving it there, I’m going to just select that message, and archive that as well.

My inbox is now at zero!

Now that I can focus on moving forward with my work, I’ll click my “Action” folder along the side, and begin working on a message that I decided required further action.

Likewise, if I go into my “Awaiting Response” folder after a few days, and I see that I still haven’t gotten a response, I can choose to reach out to that contact again.

As new email trickle into my inbox, I can just label them right away, and follow the same process of using the “Action” label, “Awaiting Response” label, and the Archive button to tackle any new messages as they come.

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