Do you get thousands of emails a day? How many of them are actually important? Maybe 20 from friends, family or those your work with.

Then you have all those other emails that are good to get but not really that important like Amazon shipping updates or that 20% off coupon from Ebags.com.

I guess you could sort through all these messages but to me, that is (and has been) exhausting.

If you use Gmail, you can get to a virtual Zero Inbox in just 3 steps.

1 – Configure Inbox

This is not only my first suggestion but most powerful tweak you can make to Gmail. It is a setting called “Configure Inbox” and it is located under the gear (an icon often used for “settings”).

 

The next screen will ask you to decide what tabs you would like to activate. Keep in mind if you dislike what you see next, you can always repeat this process and remove a tab.

After you hit “save,” your inbox will automatically get filtered. All of those messages from eBags, Old Navy or Target will automatically find their new home under the “Promotions” tab.

The best thing to do is to play around with how many tabs that you want to enable. I enabled them all and that is one of the reasons why I only see about 20 really important emails a day in the “Primary” tab.

When I need to find those Amazon shipping updates, I can go to the search bar or look under the “Updates” tab.

2 – Create Labels

All email programs have a way of organizing emails. Some allow you to create “folders” while Gmail calls them “labels.”

I have created a few like “Waiting,” “Must Do,” “Like To Do,” and “Someday.”

“Waiting” Label

For example, if you are waiting on someone to respond to something that you want to keep an eye on in case you need to send a friendly “nudge,” file that email in the “Waiting” label.

“Must Do” Label

Just like the label implies, label any emails that you absolutely must do today or soon.

“Like to Do” and “Someday” Labels

Label any emails here that you can’t do now but might want to take action on in the future. I have found that I very rarely go back to these labels but it makes me feel better that I could find them if I want.

3 – Create Filters

Google has always been known for its search engine that 70% of people use. Since Google owns Gmail, the search inside is just as powerful.

If you click the down arrow to the right of the search box, you can search for very specific reasons:

Once you set what you looking for, you can just simply hit the “Search” button, or go further and click “Create Filter.”

Create Filter will allow you to take that search that you just did, say take every message from your boss and star it. I guess depending on your relationship with him or her, you could also just set that message to automatically go to trash.

This way you can make sure that you see and take action on the right emails.

4 – Use Send Later

If a message doesn’t need to be sent right now, schedule when it needs to go out. This way you can draft a number of responses and then have them go out all at the right time. For more on this, click here.

5 – Snooze Messages Until They Are Important

I like concerts and often get an email with a presale code that needs to be used on a specific day and time. Snoozing a message allows you to pick the exact time and day that you want it to reappear.

If that concert that you have been looking forward to goes on sale Friday at 10 am (and today is Tuesday), snooze that message to the day before at 7pm or first thing Friday morning so you don’t forget.

Conclusion

Your time is too precious to be organizing your emails. If you have Gmail, these 5 steps are easy and you could be at 30 messages like me in your inbox in about 15 minutes. That is not a bad use of time!