A Complete Guide to Organizing Gmail to Use It Efficiently

A Complete Guide to Organizing Gmail to Use It Efficiently

Gmail is still very relevant and important even though apps like Slack and Teams have reduced our reliance on email. According to a McKinsey report, the average person still spends up to 28% of their working time per week on email. Therefore, it makes sense to organize Gmail to reduce clutter and improve productivity.

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Complete Guide to Organizing Gmail for Effective Use

The number of emails we receive can be staggering, especially from sources we don’t even remember signing up for. Then there are old but important emails that get lost in a sea of ​​fresh emails. Here are some tips and tricks for organizing Gmail emails and bringing sanity into your business life.

Let’s start.

1. Organization of the Gmail inbox

Most emails end up in the inbox which is the main reason it’s so cluttered and overwhelming at the same time. One way to quickly find important emails is to change the inbox type to show important emails at the top.

Step 1: Click Settings and select All Settings.

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2nd step: Go to the Inbox tab where you can choose the default view next to the inbox type.

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I suggest you try a few alternatives and check which one meets your needs:

  • Default: displays emails by date and time
  • Important first: Gmail uses AI to decide which emails are important to you
  • Unread first: Organize Gmail to show unread emails first
  • Favorites first: Emails you have followed will be displayed first. Use stars to mark important emails / IDs
  • Priority Inbox: Google pays attention to the emails you interact with the most and uses that information to show relevant emails first

There are other settings you should check out.

2. Organization of Gmail by folders / labels

Gmail calls it labels, but that means the same thing. A place to filter and store your emails so you don’t clutter up the inbox. I recommend keeping the total tag count low and not going crazy with them. Also, you can create nested labels in Gmail which means labels inside a label. It almost works like a subfolder.

We’re going to create a filter that will tell Gmail to send a particular email or save it under this tag.

Step 1: Open the email for which you want to create a filter. Click the Labels icon at the top to display a list of existing labels. Looks like an arrow pointing to the right.

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2nd step: You can choose from an existing list of labels or create a new one by typing the name directly at the top. You can also manage the label settings from here.

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For example, create a label called Reading Digest for all emails you receive from Medium or Quora or newsletters you have subscribed to. These emails will not appear in your inbox at this time and will go directly to the label or folder. You can also move emails to labels from this menu if you don’t want to create a new label for that weird email.

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You can also color the code labels. Scroll through the list of labels in the sidebar and click the three-dot menu icon next to it to choose a color.

3. Organize Gmail by size

Google offers 15 GB of free space for all Google applications, including Gmail. Are you short on space or do you want to clean up? Sort emails by size to find and delete emails that take up space but are useless at the moment.

The search operator is size: bytes. This means that to search for emails that consume more than 15MB of space, you will enter size: 15728640. The command size: mb also works.

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You can get creative at this point and add more search parameters to further filter results such as:

  • size: mb a: attachment
  • size: 10MB a: attachment file name: doc
  • size: 10MB bigger_than: 5m smaller_than: 8M

Try a few combinations to see what kind of results you get, then take it from there. Gmail will offer other search parameters just below the search bar, such as date and time, to help you find what you’re looking for.

Pro tip: You know how we can create labels to filter emails. Did you know you can use the label #GoogleDrive to save attachments directly to a folder in Drive? Deleting the email afterwards will also not delete the file saved in Drive.

4. Manage tabs

Gmail comes with many tabs which are active by default. You don’t need all of these tabs or not.

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Go back to settings and under the Inbox tab you will notice categories. This is where you can easily turn these tabs on / off. There is no way to create new tabs or assign a label as a tab. It would have been so cool though.

5. Organize Gmail by sender

Looking to find all emails from a particular sender. It’s easy and you don’t even have to open the email for it to work.

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Right-click on the email and select “Search for emails by name” to start the search. You should see all the emails within seconds.

Google Mail Rocks

Gmail is one of the best-designed email service providers in the world. There are several ways to customize it the way you want. There are also hidden features, keyboard shortcuts, and search operators that you can use to get what you’re looking for. Hope the tips above have helped you organize your inbox better. Maybe even hit inbox zero? Crossed fingers.


Have you lost your Gmail emails? Here are some ways to recover lost Gmail emails and prepare for future calamities. You will never lose another email again.

Last updated Sep 12, 2020

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