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5 Gmail Filters to Get You to Inbox Zero

5 Gmail Filters to Get You to Inbox Zero

The elusive Inbox Zero. It’s the moment when you have all of your “inputs” somewhat dealt with and the the slate is clear for you to concentrate on what is truly important. Some people think that it’s simply getting your entire email inbox to no emails. If that is the case, I could do that pretty easily by selecting all email and trashing it.

That’s not necessarily the point.

Inbox Zero is a state where we have our decks cleared, have the right things in the right places, and we can start to work on what is important. But, we can use some hacks to get us to this state a little bit easier everyday.

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Use the 5 Gmail filters to help clear out your inbox, achieve Inbox Zero, and free up the time and space to get done what really matters.

  1. The “you email me too much and you are going to get ignored” filter.This is one of my favorite filters that I have ever used and by far the one that gets the most use. Basically, if you get too much email from someone and you don’t want to see it in your inbox day-in and day-out, add the sender to the “From:” field in the filter.
      Using OR statements to combine email addresses
        Archiving and labeling email

        Depending on how much you really don’t want to see this person’s emails, you can either trash the email immediately (essentially turning this filter into a blacklist), or be a little more humane and give the email a “Review” label for later review.

        As more and more people keep sending you more and more email that you don’t want to see, you can simply add them to the “From:” field in the filter preceded by an OR operator.

      • The newsletter review filterSome people like getting a bunch of newsletters; really, they all aren’t that bad. One thing that I can’t stand is diving into a some unprocessed emails and seeing a newsletter that seems interesting. 30 minutes later after I have read it and probably clicked through to watch some video or comment somewhere else I wonder where time has gone.

        It doesn’t have to be this way. One way to clear out a bunch of these emails is to search the content of the email for “unsubscribe here OR unsubscribe”. Since it’s “unlawful” for individuals and companies to send email that you signed up for without an unsubscribe link, chances are you are going to catch most if not all of these newsletter emails this way. After you find these emails check Skip the inbox (Archive it) and choose which label you want to give it (I go with something like Read/Review). Now you can review these newsletters on your own time.

          Search for unsubscribe here OR unsubscribe

        • The social reviewIn the same vein as the last filter, if you get a lot of email notifications for social networks and you still want to receive and review them, you can set up a filter with a subject search of all of the social networks you are involved with. For instance you could say “facebook OR twitter OR linkedin OR google+ OR”, you get the idea.

          You can then Archive these and give them a label. Sometimes, a filter like this can be overzealous, like if you are waiting on an email with the subject of “Facebook wants to buy your company for a billion dollars”. But, as long as you review this label every couple of days you won’t lose anything important.

        • Get notified fastAll of these filters are great, but what if you are waiting for a specific email from someone and you don’t want to keep checking your inbox every 30 seconds? Well, then you can set up what I like to call “the poor man’s AwayFind”. All you need is a cell phone for this.

          Set a filter with the To: field from the email address you are waiting on a message from. Then, set the search to foward to a different address. Instead of forwarding to another email address, you are going to set up an forward address to your phone number. Follow this format of address for your carrier.

            Add a forwarding address
              Forward the important email to your phone

              I’m with Verizon, so my address is forwarded to 1234567890@vtext.com (couldn’t get the MMS address work). Gmail will send you a confirmation code, confirm the email address, and boom: you now get text notifications of any sender you deem as important.

            • Set yourself up to keep projects aliveOne of the best things that I have learned from GTD is to keep a “waiting for” list. It allows me to keep track of everything that I have outside of myself pending to be done.

              I have an @Waiting label in Gmail that I use all the time. Anything that I need to follow up on gets this label. I move a lot of email here manually, but you can set up a filter that can apply this label automatically when you send an email.

              Create an email with the From: filled out as your email address and the content of the email searching for something like “_wf_” (without the quotes). Then assign this message an @Waiting label. When you send an email to someone that you want to track it as something you are waiting on, after your signature simply type “_wf_”. After it sends it will be caught by your @Waiting label for further follow up.

              Waiting for filter will keep your projects alive

              Getting to Inbox Zero isn’t as hard as you think. Use these Gmail filters to set up your system so you can concentrate more on important work rather than checking your inbox.

              (Photo credit: Mailslot via Shutterstock)

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              More by this author

              CM Smith

              A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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              Last Updated on January 24, 2020

              10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

              10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

              Habits are behaviors and patterns that you showcase by default. They enable you to carry out crucial activities like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, getting prepared for work.

              Interestingly, you follow this routine every day without considering them. Your unconscious habits create room for your brain to perform more advanced activities like problem-solving and choosing what book to read.

              Everyone has habits, and several of those habits are activated every day. I would classify them into three groups:

              • The first category includes the habits that you hardly notice as they have become a major part of your life- such as brushing teeth or wearing clothes.
              • The second category comprises good habits to have to be more successful-like eating healthily, exercising your body and reading books.
              • The last group consists of those habits that are harmful-like procrastinating, smoking or overeating.

              Habits are fundamental to becoming successful in life — or probably ending up a failure. Yet, as significant as habits are, some lack the knowledge of their capabilities.

              Habits are default activities that you engage in without giving an afterthought. They are automatic behavioral or mental activities. They help you carry out some actions without exerting too much energy. They simplify your life.

              Several people aspire to break bad habits. For instance, some people diet to stop overeating. They exercise to reduce obesity. Habits can hinder or impact your performance and productivity.

              That’s why I would share 10 good habits to have to be more successful in life.

              1. Begin Your Day with Meditation

              I recommend mindful meditation early in the morning. This practice helps you to be in the present moment. Consequently, it enables you to be mindful of challenging situations during the day.

              Different stressors may trigger as you go through the day; meditation helps you to remain calm before taking on the challenges.

              Personally, it helps me to devise strategies and think about ideas. Meditation is a good habit to have if you want to be connected to what’s significant in your life.

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              2. Be Grateful for What You Have

              Sometimes, you waste time thinking of what’s not enough. You become immersed in those daunting challenges. However, challenges justify the presence of hope. When you have life, you have expectations. You will be free from challenges when you are six feet under. The only strategy you have to stop focusing on your problems is to focus on what you have.

              Gratitude is a time-tested pathway to success, health, and happiness. It redirects your focus to what you have from what you lack. Here’s what James Clear does every day,[1]

              “I say one thing I’m grateful for each day when I sit down to eat dinner.”

              3. Smile

              Can you pause and smile before you continue reading this?

              Now here is what just happened based on research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science; you set a pace for living a happier life when you smile. A genuine smile or what’s called a Duchenne smile is a good habit to have if you want to find spiritual, emotional and mental peace of mind.[2]

              Smiling induces the release of molecules that function towards fighting stress. The physiological state of your body determines the state of your mind. When you slouch or frown, your mind takes cues relating to unhappiness and depression. But, once you adjust yourself by putting up a smile, you begin to feel a new level of excitement and vibrancy.

              Can you smile again?

              4. Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast

              Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a good habit to have and forms a crucial part of your life. Nevertheless, about 31 million Americans skip their breakfast each day.[3]

              If you are fed up hearing that breakfast is a crucial component of your day, you are only fighting the truth. If you want to become more successful, you need to ‘break your fast’ with healthy foods every morning.

              This habit is not difficult to form if you usually rush out the door every single morning. You can wake up earlier to fix yourself a meal so you don’t break down during the day.

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              Get inspired by these 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time.

              5. Exercise Daily

              One of the good habits to have is to exercise your body and muscles every day. You don’t have to run a marathon or lift a weight. You only need to engage in less strenuous activities that oxygenate your blood and inject endorphins in your body.

              Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, classified exercise as a good habit to maximize his already jam-packed schedule.[4] He said,

              ‘I wake up by 5, meditate for 30 minutes, seven-minute workout times three, make coffee, and check-in.’

              He said on Product Hunt that he follows this routine every day as it gives him a steady-state that empowers him to be more productive.

              6. Manage Your Time as You Manage Your Finance

              Another good habit is the act of managing your time effectively. This goes a long way to impact your achievement.

              Time management is what separates the successful from the rest of the world as we all possess the same amount of time. How you leverage time determines your potential to succeed in life.

              So how do you manage your time effectively?

              Here’s Jack Dorsey’s recommendation in one of the Techonomy events;

              “I accomplish effective time management by theming my days and practicing self-discipline. These themes help me handle distractions and interactions. If a request or task does not align with the theme for that day, I don’t do it. This sets a cadence for everyone in the company to deliver and evaluate their progress”.

              And this is Dorsey’s weekly theme:[5]

              • Monday – Management
              • Tuesdays – Product
              • Wednesday – Marketing and growth
              • Thursdays – Developers and partnerships
              • Fridays – Culture and recruiting
              • Saturdays – Taking off
              • Sundays – Reflection, feedback, strategy, and preparing for Monday

              No wonder he was able to run two companies when others were struggling with one job.

              7. Set Daily Goals with Intentions

              Everyone has goals. It may relate to business or personal life. The truth is, we’re all tending towards a particular direction or another. Nevertheless, while long-term goals can offer you direction, it’s your daily goals that you establish that help you develop short-term goals that are essential for your success.

              Long-term goals may not give you the motivation you need to keep on. But when you implement your short-term milestones daily, you become fired up, and you can overcome the challenges that come with taking on bigger tasks.

              Here’s the main truth:Successful people don’t set goals without establishing their intentions. According to Jennifer Cohen of Forbes,[6]

              “What helps you to achieve your desired expectation is ensuring intentions accompany your daily goals.”

              Be intentional about your daily goals!

              8. Seek Inspiration

              It is usually difficult to be inspired for a considerable length of time. Sometimes, you become discouraged and feel like giving up on your goals when things are not working out as intended.

              A practical approach to stay on top of the situation is to inspire yourself each day. When you wake up in the morning after meditation, watch some motivational videos, and let the story of great leaders inspire you.

              Establish what Anthony Robbins called the ‘hour of power.’ Determine how many minutes you spend but make it count. Inspiration is the fuel for achievement because when you can conceive it in your mind, you can accomplish it.

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              Michal Solowow, an investor and the founder of Mitex, a construction company puts it this way,[7]

              “The problems I encounter in everyday life motivates me to find solutions. This is a self-propelling mechanism. becoming a billionaire was never a motivating factor.”

              9. Save Steadily, Invest with All Prudence

              I can exhaust the good habits to have without talking about saving and investing. Most times, you overlook the significance of saving for the future when you are living in your present moment. According to CNBC, a $1000 emergency will propel several Americans into debt.[8]

              However, it is not enough to save, and you must invest your fund and be wise with it. If you pay attention to this now, you will set yourself for a life of success in the future. Ensure you save at least six months in your emergency account so you can be prepared for any future emergency.

              10. Budget and Track Your Spendings

              Benjamin Franklin warned of taking the precaution of little expenses. He said,

              “A small leak sinks a great ship.”

              It is easy to discard little expenses, but the truth is they always add up. This happens when you fail to budget.

              Budgeting is a good habit to have, which can impact your financial life significantly. The money you spend on extravagant lifestyles can be saved and invested in your future.

              The Bottom Line

              Endeavor to cultivate these good habits to have to become more successful as you journey through life. The quicker you cultivate them, the faster you achieve your goals.

              More About Habits

              Featured photo credit: Andrijana Bozic via unsplash.com

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