Prioritise Your Emails & Shrink Your Inbox

I’ve been using Gmail for a few years now (for both personal and work emails), but I have never really taken the time to customise, nor optimise, my inbox. I’ve been plodding along with the current Tabs and Categories feature for a while, without giving it too much thought.

With this default Tabs feature, Gmail essentially classifies your messages into categories, which in turn lets you focus only on the emails deemed important enough to go to your inbox (the others sitting in separate ‘tabs’ for you to look at when it suits).

This is all well and good until some of the messages you actually want to read start appearing in a different tab to your inbox. And then you end up clicking around like a maniac between tabs every time you check your mail. Not very efficient.

So, after hearing a friend sing the praises of Gmail’s Priority Inbox feature (which was actually created way back in 2010), I thought I should take a step back in time and simplify.

The Priority Inbox feature really puts you in charge of how you see and use your inbox. Implementing the changes is simple enough to do, and once you’re happy with your configurations, you’re good to go! There’s a great step-by-step here on how to it.

So now I have my inbox just the way I like it. My unread emails come in at the top, and in the next section I have starred emails which require action. Below that are my important emails which need to be followed up on (i.e. not to be forgotten about!). And finally, at the bottom of my inbox, I have everything else (e.g. items that only need to be accessed once I hear from someone else, but can’t quite be filed away just yet).

What I like about the Priority Inbox feature is that I can now easily see at a glance my unread items, emails to action and messages that I don’t immediately need to worry about. They are no longer jumbled up together where they can be easily missed or forgotten.

One other neat trick is that you can also minimise sections you don’t want to see. This allows you to have laser focus on just that one email section you are working on.

So far, so good. And for me, the Priority Inbox not only means getting through my emails faster, but also being more productive.


If you use Gmail for business, what are your favourite tips and tricks? Please share them in the comments below!