Personal Organization Tip of the Week: Use Gmail Labels

Posted on December 10, 2008. Filed under: Personal Organization | Tags: , , , , |

One of my favorite topics is personal organization.  Each week, to share my favorite personal tips on organization, I am going to post one for you to try.

labels1Is your Gmail inbox out of control?  Do you like to categorize but haven’t learned the ins and outs of Gmail yet?  Well, you should be using labels.

Here are tips on how to use labels:

  1. Set up labels to categorize all your emails for quick searching.  Once an email is labeled, even if it hasn’t been read, archive it.  Archiving with a label allows you to focus on one email topic at a time. Or read all those, sometimes pesky, newsletters later.
  2. Labels are great for color coding, which I love!  As you can see from the photo at the left, I have different colors for all my labels.  Each label color is a color that reminds me of what is in there, aka colors of the organization.  If you visit the labs in your settings you will find an option to customize your colors. You can also set some colors for urgency, or remember to do this later, etc.
  3. Once you have your colors set up, and have started labeling and archiving, you may want to take the next step to set up filters in your settings.  Filters allow you to put emails into labels and archived as soon as they come in.  If you notice in my NP2020 label there are quite a few emails.  I have filters set to put all my Google Alerts on the subject in this folder, and I go through them all when doing research.
  4. Use keyboard shortcuts to get to your labels quickly.  To get to a label quickly, go to your Gmail, on the keyboard type g then l.  A small box will appear on the screen where you can type in the label you wish to go to.  There’s an autofill set up for quick reference.

Happy Labeling!

Share your suggestions: Do you have any other tips or suggestions on how you use Gmail labels?  Do you use another email service with the same type of system that you can give some suggestions for?

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One Response to “Personal Organization Tip of the Week: Use Gmail Labels”

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Although I don’t always abide by it, I try to start a new label when one folder has “too many” emails. Here’s what I mean: I use the search feature to find emails most of the time, but sometimes I can’t remember any key words from the conversation – I just remember there was a photo someone sent that I need.

So, that’s when I diversify. “Work” then becomes “Work photos.” And, as I began to serve on more nonprofit boards, I gave each their own folder rather than lump them all under “Volunteering.”

Your tips for using labels are great. I agree that focusing on one topic at a time makes you a better emailer since you’re brain’s not jumping from topic to topic.


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