Last time we looked at the ART of Gmail and learned how to Archive – Respond – ToDo. Now we are going to dig a little deeper and see how to further refine the system to make Gmail work smarter for us.
Our first ninja trick is to have our messages automatically labeled for us. We talked briefly about labels when discussing Archiving. A label is attached to a message and groups them together. What is the difference between a label and folder? A message can only be in one folder whereas a message can have more than one label.
I have labels set up for all the main schools that I work with. Rather than dragging and dropping messages from the inbox to their folder, I have set up rules that automatically label them based on the email address. For example, all messages from Anthony Wayne Schools are labeled Anthony Wayne based on their being from anthonywayneschools.org
The easiest way is to select a message in your inbox and choose “filter messages like these” from the options menu.
Next change the first part of the email address to a * (* is a Gmail wildcard) so we are searching for any message from @anthonywayneschools.org
Click Create filter.
Edit your filter and choose the label you want to apply. Optionally you can skip the inbox and also label messages (conversations) that match the search criteria.
So now when you get a message it will be labeled already as it enters your inbox. Once you archive your message it will be removed from your inbox but now you can find the message again by looking in the label list in the left margin.
The second ninja trick is having google flag any SPAM for us so we can reduce the number of messages to process via ART. In the message list, select a SPAM message by clicking on the little square.
Click the STOP icon (next to Archive) and report SPAM
At this point, you can report SPAM which puts the message (and all future messages from this sender) in the SPAM folder.
You can also report SPAM and unsubscribe which will on some messages use the unsubscribe link and try and unsubscribe you automatically. This only works some of the time. I generally just use the report spam button.
You will need to periodically empty your SPAM folder but this should be part of your regular routine. (Set a ToDo item for this each week so you don’t forget)
Keep going with cleaning up your Gmail. Did you get to Inbox Zero this week? You can do it!
In the next part of this series, we will look at curating digital content with Google Slides.