Oh, you read that title correctly! Let's work towards a zero inbox. I was able to accomplish this in under an hour. I started with over 500 messages in my inbox! Oh, and I didn't unsubscribe from one newsletter!
In this post, I'm going to walk you through step by step on how to quick and efficiently clean out your email and enjoy a zero inbox! Also, stay tuned to the end of this post because I have an extra bonus for you!
Are you like me? Do you dread checking your email? Is it just overwhelming? Yes, I get it, I was just like that! Seriously, I would rarely check my personal email because I just didn't want to deal with it. I mean, so overwhelming!!!
Is a zero email inbox really possible?
Oh yes, my young apprentice, it is! I organized my main email about a month ago and I've kept it clean. When I log into my email I no longer open it with utter dread. I just open it up and respond to each message accordingly and move on. I check my email 3 times a day and spend about 10-15 minutes tops going through all of the messages.
I'm telling you it couldn't be easier. I was a girl with 3 different email addresses and 2 out of the 3 messages were filled with 500+ messages in them. It took me less than an hour in each of my emails to set this up.
You can have a zero email inbox with virtually any email platform!
I have a personal Gmail and a personal Yahoo email account. Yes, setting them up was a little different, however, the way I organized my email stayed the same. I'm going to walk you through how to set up your Gmail account. After you are done you are going to say, why haven't I done this sooner!!
You will not have to open new email accounts for this to work. Promise!
As I said before I have 3 email accounts. Two are personal and one is for work/business. Why do I have 3 email accounts? Well, let me explain;
I can safely say, one is pretty obvious. I really do not want to mix business and pleasure so having 1 email set up only for business I think is smart. I would hate to accidentally delete a message or have a message get lost in the shuffle. This is a CYA method of mine.
So why two personal accounts?
Well, everyone asks for your email right! You go to the store and in order to use their coupon you have to enter an email. Ugh... Some stores I want to receive a weekly update for. There are some bloggers that I cannot wait to read their new email.
So I have an email for, Ya, I really don't care but, I'll sign up because I feel bad for the girl behind the register who is asking. Or you know you order 1 thing 1 time from that 1 store and you are constantly getting their emails. Well yes, that is for this account.
Then, I have an email account specifically for my friends, family, bloggers I love, and stores I shop at always. You can see how this can get out of hand really quickly.
What exactly is a zero inbox?
It's quite simple, it is simple, your inbox with 0 messages.
Don't get me wrong, your email still has messages stored in them.
They are just not in your inbox.
Your messages are organized which makes them easier to respond, delete, or archive.
You will still be storing important emails.
Yes, I still have email messages within each of my accounts. However, I probably have a total of 30 messages within my account.
Think of your messages as a big stack of papers that you need to go through.
How do you go through them?
One by one.
Which will take some time, but once they are filed away you don't have that dreaded big stack of papers, right.
When you go through your papers you don't file each and every paper, right? A lot gets thrown out.
Let's dive in, shall we!
I'm going to walk you step by step on how to set up your Gmail account. I feel this is probably the most popular platform used, right now. I really love its simple design and its versatility. My Gmail account is my main personal account that I use. I wish I would have taken a screen shot of my before because it really is remarkable how quickly I was able to set this up.
Start off by going to your settings:
Once you click settings, it will take you here:
Now comes the fun part. Okay well at least I found this to be the fun part.
This is the meat of the operation. Start off by going to "Inbox"
Organize your inbox the way you want it organized!
Then it is time to get rid of those categories. I unselected the social and primary folder. Now all of your emails will go into your primary folder. When I did this I had over 1000 emails sitting in one place.
A little overwhelming yes, I know. Bare with me, I will walk you through what I did. First I would like to explain the categories.
If you are not familiar with the categories, let me explain that a little bit. Google separates incoming messages into different categories. You have your primary, social, and promotion.
Your primary is your basic inbox this is where you will find emails from your friends and family usually. Your social folder consists of (well at least for me) your social media updates. Finally, your promotions folder is usually filled with newsletters.
Google set this up so you were not bombarded with a huge list of emails once you logged in. This is a nice feature, don't get me wrong, I just want it to go a little further.
Speaking of going further, let do it! Once you have unselected the social and promotions folders, it is time to select the labels tab. See the example below.
Let's label it!
Now you will see what categories and labels you have. If you do not have any labels it is time to do that.
To create new labels, click on the create new label button. You can see that button in the picture above.
When creating new labels, you'll want to think about what type of emails you get so then you can organize them accordingly. For example I have 6 different added labels that I use. A few examples are to do, needs response, bloggers I love, family. Again, it is wise to think about what types of messages you receive and then make labels that will fit.
Once you have set up your labels, it is time to set up your multiple inboxes. To do this click on labs then enable multiple inboxes. Check out the photo below for your example.
Hopefully you are still with me. These little steps really are necessary to achieve the most efficient inbox.
Time to head over to the general tab. It is time to assign your labels a star. Refer to the picture below for an example.
Pick out the ones you would like to use. You will need to pick 1 per label. It is possible to pick more than one per label but be warned that it can make things a little more difficult.
Here's a little tip. Write down the ones you pick and set up a legend. When I first started using this system I forgot which ones went with what.
Once you have figured out your stars. Notice that, the order you have the stars in is the order they will come up when you click on them. For example if you know that you'll be using the blue star and the yellow star a lot then, make sure they are the first 2 stars in order.
It is time to assign your stars a label. Go ahead and click the multiple inboxes tab and let's start assigning them. Check out the photo below for reference.
Okay, you are now in the multiple inboxes tab. Let's assign your stars. Under search query is where the assignment takes place. As you can see in the example above, my first assignment is my Important label I have assigned it a yellow star and a red bang.
So my important label is listed as has:yellow-star OR has:red-bang
This tells google that when I assign a yellow star or a red bang that I want that email to be filed in my important label.
Go ahead and assign your stars to your labels.
Once that is done, it is time to set up what your maximum page size and your extra panels positioning. You can see from the example below how I have it set up.
I think google starts you off with a maximum page size of 20. For me, that was too many. So I lowered mine to 5. I like to have my extra panels positioned on the right side of my inbox. These are completely up to you and your personal preference.
Please don't forget to save!
Now comes the part that I really cannot show you with screen shots because, silly me, I didn't screen shot mine before.
This part is going to be a little overwhelming at first, however, it will go by quickly. There are going to be so many messages that you are just not going to want.
I suggest doing a quick purge of your emails.
Start off by selecting all of the junk. In the box next to the email you do not want click it. A black check mark will appear. Keep doing this until all of your junk is gone.
The next step I took was starting one label at a time. For example, I went through and added blue stars to all of the bloggers I love. Once I did that I refreshed my screen and went on to the next. I continued until there was nothing left and I got this message:
Okay, so it doesn't come with a smiley face at the end and yes you caught me, I added that. But did you see that lovely message? No new mail! If you like hitting inbox zero, try our new app. Oh Ya!!! So I actually recently took the plunge and started using Inbox by Gmail. I'm still learning it and will have to report back on that.
But that is how I set up myself for a zero inbox!
Do you remember at the beginning of this post I mention a bonus? Instead of having to remember each and every step of this process, I created a checklist for you. This will walk you through the entire process so you can finally create a clean inbox!
Will you become a zero inbox type of a person?
What have you learned? What type of things will you be adding to your inbox? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Thank you so much for reading this. Your support truly means a lot!!