Junk and Mail

Last semester my school transferred email providers and adopted gmail. I love it. My primary email address is also on gmail, but I find that I have been using my school mail more and more. For one, it's a more professional address, and two, I get way more traffic on it then I do in regular mail (I'm a pretty popular student!).

However, heavy traffic means big messes and as you can see - I tend to not do much with it. In the above image I have 132 emails - this is from the last 2 weeks alone. I religiously believe in gmail's labeling power, but often I do not use it because I am one of those people who has to wait until everything is finished before filing away something. Bad habit, I know.

Well, 132 is just too much. So, I went about organizing it today. I have to say that I did the "works" and that this project took me about 45 minutes - however, I also have a much much much cleaner inbox.

1. I started in the back and worked my way forward (which adds to the time, but I prefer to do things chronologically). I starred any old email that I have yet to respond to, need to respond to, or contains a note that I need to remember for a future date (My German emails pertain to this week's worth of homework).

2. Any email I thought I might forward or needed to respond to but hesitated, I did. This made labeling a lot easier and I didn't have to second guess a reaction. If someone did not want something forwarded to them, they'll definitely let me know.

3. Double label but move into one folder. This is the beauty of google, and especially gmail. Sometimes I will have an email that not only deals with one person but also an institution and an event that is taking place there. Often, I only mention the event in an informal email to the one person, so I'll label the three places (I already have individual labels for the event (symposium), institution (vmfa), and person) but since it was an informal email I'll label it under the person. Yet, when I click "Show all labels for 'event'" it will automatically include the private email!

4. Reviewed my labels. I went through each file and made sure that something that should go into my Word of the Day, didn't get stuck in "Frick." (I accidentally hit the wrong label sometimes). I have 21 labels. I found some labels had no posts in them (like 'priority') and deleted them.

5. Make each label a different color. I'm a visual person and although I can't tell you what blue background with red text exactly refers to, it lets me know it's different than a green background with orange text.

6. Hide the labels you don't need or often check. For instance, many of my labels refer to classes. The classes I had last semester I hid, although I won't get rid of the actual emails because I may need them at a future date. I also hid anything personal, or emails from my family, that I never check after reading them.

7. Don't condense. I'm a very specific person. I have a few emails from the Met, the Frick, the NGA, and the VMFA. Instead of just listing them all under "museum" I MUST have individual label makers. Even if I were to add a "musuem" one, it would just contain all the emails from all of my previously added labels. Now that is clutter.

After which, I had a much neater inbox. I know that it won't stay this way forever, but I feel a bit cleaner after doing so!

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