We often get asked about best practices with email, especially if users are transitioning from Outlook to Gmail.  The term “Inbox Zero” is largely attributed to Merlin Mann and his 5 components: Delete, Delegate, Respond, Defer & Do.  The psychology of Inbox Zero and GTD (Getting Things Done) is important and best taught by productivity experts like Think Productive.  Since we focus on the technology and not the psychology of inbox best practices, here are 5 ways to get to Inbox Zero using Gmail:

  1. Archiving.  Don’t underestimate the power of quickly archiving your email in Gmail.  It’s like deleting only better in that the email is searchable afterwards and won’t slow down your computer as Gmail gives you 25 GB of storage.  Gmail search is also phenomenal so take advantage.  On the go? Archiving is also easily done using the Gmail apps for Android and iPhone.
  2. Filters. For email that is simply a distraction like company newletters, simply filter them and batch read them later if need be.  These emails should be labelled and auto-archived so that they never hit your inbox.  Read them on your downtime (whenever that is).  Don’t plan on ever reading them, then unsubscribe!  Click here to learn how to create filters. 
  3. Tasks from Emails.  Simply take an email conversation and defer it to later by “add to tasks”.  Add an email to a task list and the related email is linked for referral.  Add an optional due date and view them in the Calendar.  Don’t use your inbox as a task list!
  4. Associating emails to CRM.  Email is great as a medium of communication but not as a way to manage relationships.  This is a job for CRM (customer relationship management).  Find a way to easily associate emails to contacts records (or other more specific records) in a CRM database.  For popular CRM apps like Salesforce, there are tools like Cirrus Insight that allow for quick association of emails. Quickly associate emails and archive them in Gmail.  Both you and your colleagues will appreciate having a 360 degree view of the email communications associated with a contact in their record not buried in your inbox.
  5. Keyboard shortcuts. Do you have a massive inbox that needs tidying up?  If so, consider using keyboard shortcuts to process your mail quicker.


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Do you have questions about Google Apps for Business?  Perpetual West is a certified Google Apps consultant and Google Apps Authorized Reseller


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