I never realized this little trick about Google’s Gmail, so I thought I’d pass it on to you, just in case.

If you want to keep something in Gmail, but don’t need it right away, use the ARCHIVE button. This pulls it out of the inbox view, and keeps your inbox cleaner.

I have lots of email that I have to keep for reference at this point, mostly about conversations covering this, that, or the other. But this was making my inbox a total mess, and I couldn’t manage quick responses to people. So now, here’s my whole system through gmail:

  • Archive things that are for reference purpose. Delete the other stuff.
  • “STAR” things that require further action.
  • Label things “Waiting For” things that aren’t happening right away, but can’t be archived.
  • Delete vigorously after items have been dealt with (if not needed for reference).

Since working from that mindset, things have flowed a lot faster in my email system.

One other trick, I’ve learned to work harder and harder on the “nut” of the email, the thing that really needs response. This has helped me better sort what’s necessary, and what’s more conversational. When I have extra time, I respond with more detail, but with this “lens” in place, I can match my responses to the time I have available.

What do you think? How else have YOU hacked Gmail lately?

–Chris Brogan keeps a blog over at [chrisbrogan.com]. He recently joined pulvermedia to develop Video On the Net, a conference/conversation about internet TV and radio.

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