We all know one (or more) person(s) who has at least 3000 unread emails in their inbox. Being the person who wants to have 0 unread messages on every app/tool, I have tried different ways to make sure I don't end up with a lot of unread emails to go through every day in my personal and company inbox. Here are a few of the ideas you could use to organize your inbox.
Some of these configurations are specific to Gmail or Google Workspace, but you should be able to find similar settings on Outlook or any other standard email services.
Unsubscribing from unnecessary emails
This is an obvious one. Everyone hates it when a service you just signed up for adds you to their newsletter by default. Most of us tend to not open it and let all the emails add up to 100s of unread emails or sit and delete them in regular intervals. Thanks to whoever made the unsubscribe mandatory for newsletters and sales emails, instead of complaining about the emails every time, you could go click the Unsubscribe hidden somewhere on that email with a font size of 10px. While writing this post, I came across services like
unsubscriber.com which claim to help you unsubscribe from all emails automatically. I have not tried these services personally and it involves giving access to your email service. So, use it at your own risk.
Using Disposable Emails
If you are constantly signing up for new services, try them out, research, and never use those services again then you could use disposable email services like
yopmail.com which give you a one-time use an email id which you can use to sign up confirm your account and forget about it. Having said that lot of services these days have a filter to prevent users from signing up using these types of services.
Using the '+'
In the cases where disposable emails are blocked, this neat little feature of Gmail comes very handy. If your email is firstname.lastname@example.org then email@example.com is a valid email and it still comes to your inbox. I use a convention of using firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com to make sure I can identify and isolate these emails easily.
Labels and Filters
My bank sends me emails for every transaction I make, which I don't want to be ignored or filtered out. To make sure I don't miss out on these, I use Gmail's filter option to auto label all these emails from a known set of senders as 'Bank Alert' with bright red color. This also allows me to bulk archive these labeled emails so that they don't appear on the main inbox but are still accessible if I go to the label.
You could enable the auto filters to enable using different parameters like from, to (here's where + notations comes useful), subject, or words within the email body.
Once you input the parameters and then search, you will be able to see exactly which emails are going to be filtered or labeled with the rules you are configuring.
If you are working with tools like GitHub or Jira, you would have 10s of emails sent to you every day. These emails don't usually need immediate attention or you might have got the notification via their app or slack, you could use filters to avoid having those emails on your inbox altogether and you can always check them at once when you need it.
Filter messages like this
Instead of configuring the search/filter parameters yourself, you can use "Filter messages like this" on the type of email you want to filter, Gmail will automatically find a pattern that it could use to group similar emails. You could further add restrictions on the suggested parameters depending on the need and create the filter.
Hoping to see less of 10,000 unread emails from here on. IFYKYK.