📪 Free Your Gmail Inbox

Your inbox is probably a noisy place that you don’t enjoy visiting. Am I right? I recently read the following tweet which motivated me to clear out my work inbox for 2021 (I only use Gmail for work).

You can do the same thing in Fastmail, Yahoo or whatever, but here’s how I did it in Gmail. If you’re using HEY this entire post is probably irrelevant!

Step 1: Move Gmail to the standard, boring old Inbox format

You need to do this first. The default tabs that Gmail introduces are not an efficient way of working at all.

Choose “Default” for the type then turn off Social, Promotions etc.

Step 2: Archive everything in your inbox

Ok, perhaps keep the few (and it will be only a few) emails that you still need to action, but other than these clear it out. Literally archive everything. You don’t need them in your face.

This is what my Inbox looks like. It’s heavenly (it even has clouds).

Note: you should probably get into the habit of archiving email threads that you’ve dealt with to keep your inbox free of noise. Some might call this Inbox Zero but that’s more of a religion. I’m just talking about creating a tiny habit of Kondoesque housekeeping.

Step 3: Filter out bulk emails

To do this, create a filter for all emails containing the word “unsubscribe”. The filter will make these emails skip the inbox and apply a label called To Review (or something else of your choice).

Step 4: Relax and enjoy a quiet, largely interruption free, inbox oasis

This will remove 90% of the emails from your inbox and filter everything into the To Review label, which you can check infrequently, even every week or two. These filtered emails will not be important emails.

You’ll likely find other ‘bulk’ emails that are not unsubscribable appear in your inbox now and again. I recommend adding a new filter for each of these as and when they appear. Alternatively, block the contact if you can’t be bothered to set up a filter, or mark as spam if it is really unsolicited and unwanted nonsense.

Welcome home, email.

* * *

Many thanks to Julian Shapiro 🤙