Labels and Emails, Like Peas in a Pod

While we're on the topic of processing your emails, I thought I'd share how you can make it SO EASY to find emails later on, like when you really need them.

When people just leave all of their emails in their inbox it conjures up a scenario in my head: imagine if all of those emails were pieces of paper. If we had to deal with paper instead of email, more people than not would be using some kind of filing cabinet or file folders or even a system of balanced piles (toppling now and then for sure.) If you don't have any kind of system for your emails, even the search feature may not help you sometimes.

*Note that not all email platforms use the term "label" so please note that for this post, when I say label I also might mean "folder" if that's how your system works. For those of us on Google for Work, we have the luxury of multiple labels whereas not all platforms would support multiple folders so you have to see what yours can do. Or ask me for help.

Why should I bother with labels?

Yes, even though the back and forth with a client or colleague can often become a little silly, there is usually a point to it! (Somewhere underneath all those animated GIFs.)

At the time you may remember very easily what the conversation details are. But try to recall them in a month, or in six months and you'll probably be a little foggy on the exact info. If not, thanks for reading this far and feel free to stop now and carry on with your amazing, incredible memory!

If you haven't filed the email in some way, you'll have to scroll back through the inbox to roughly where you think you remember talking about it... but doesn't time have a funny way of tricking us? Whoa, that which I thought was 3 weeks ago can actually be twice as far back when I actually check, right?

Basically, when you don't file, you spend an awful lot of time looking at emails over and over, trying to find your way to the one that you want. If everything sits in your inbox, not only are you likely double-handling but more likely triple and quadruple-handling these emails. What a waste of time!

Be smarter with your inbox

Your time is valuable so spend it wisely. Keep all emails grouped together with labels. Then when you need something you can narrow it down by client, by topic, by project - by any-which-way that you choose to label! Couple this by searching within one label for the sender or a word used in the conversations and bam, you've got only a handful of emails to look through for your information.

Multiple labels are great too - that way you can file with the client name but also use a label to keep track of great "how-to" explanations you've used so that you can grab them quickly in the future. There are so many ways you can use labels so start with what works best for you first, and then if you want to get fancy, you can adjust it or add to it. Because you can edit labels in Gmail, you can change label names and colour-code them as you go.

If you need advice on getting your inbox sorted, ask me your questions in the comments below!