Don’t go crazy with the folders. This Fast Company article outlines a simple folder system used by a major management consulting firm.
Greg Wilson, an executive at Google Cloud Platform, goes deep on his Gmail setup for work. His detailed descriptions coupled with screen shots make for a very useful read.
If the above two approaches aren’t for you, The Washington Post’s Jena McGregor offers a good alternative in this interview with the economist Tim Harford. Skip down to the question about Inbox Zero to get straight into the science behind why organizing your email in folders won’t actually help you find messages faster.
Inbox Exposed: Ryan Robinson, Content Marketing Consultant
Email is a non-negotiable part of everyday life. For some, it’s an unruly time suck, but enlightened email users have systems to ensure they’re not a slave to the inbox. We’re asking smart thinkers to give us a peek inside their inboxes, share tips, ideas, gripes, and everything in between.
Ryan Robinson once created a side business that, he says, generated $160,000+ in one year. He took the lessons from that and his previous ventures to help businesses grow through content. He documents his insights on his blog and also hosts a podcast about growing a profitable side hustle. In the interview, this self-proclaimed Inbox Zero fanatic provided plenty of useful tips for taming an inbox. He also shared the strategic way he uses his blog to cold email potential clients.
An excerpt appears below.
On his preferred tools:
I use one Chrome extension for Gmail that’s called, “Inbox When Ready for Gmail,” and that is my savior tool. It will just completely hide your inbox so you’ll no longer see any messages but you still have your search bar. So if you need to deal with individual e-mails or you have to compose a message and send it out, you can still do that without seeing the “100 Unread.” It’s kind of like a mental hack — out of sight, out of mind.
On shaping his email management approach:
Chris Dritsas. He reached out to me a while ago and did a guest post on my blog about how to stop procrastinating — part of that was proper e-mail management. He just had a lot of really interesting ways to think about what email actually is, and that kind of helped me to get to a point where I can realize most email isn’t really that important.
In previous jobs, before I was working for myself full-time, I spent what felt like my entire day working out of my inbox, which is psycho! There’s no creative work when you do that, you know?