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How to Use Gmail Search to Clean up Your Email Archive

How to Use Gmail Search to Clean up Your Email Archive

Clean up Gmail

    I am not a fan of deleting emails from my Gmail.

    The reason is simple: I love Gmail search and I often use it to find past conversations and bring up old contacts. I receive and read my email using Thunderbird, but I use the Gmail web interface to find all the past correspondence (which can be accessed from any computer — provided I remember my login details).

    However, in some cases there’s absolutely no point in saving some of your emails — you’ll never get back to them. So why clutter your email archive?

    The Basics: Deleting Emails in Gmail

    In case you don’t know how to delete all emails filtered by your search, here’s a quick how-to:

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    1. Select “All”
    2. Then click “Select all XXXX conversations in Search results
    3. Delete

    Delete all emails

      Tip #1: Delete Automated Updates

      Search: [from:noreply* OR from:do-not-reply* OR from:donotreply* OR from:notification*]

      This way you’ll filter out all the automated updates that come from bots (such as social media friend requests ([email protected]), calendar reminders ([email protected]), etc.). Chances are, you’ll need those updates only once in a lifetime.

      Automated emails

        Bonus Tip: Don’t create a filter to delete those emails, as this will delete all the future updates as well. Instead, create a calendar reminder to do the regular clean up at least quarterly.

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        Tip #2: Delete All Blog Comment Notifications

        Search: [from:wordpress* OR from:disqus]

        If you are a blogger who hasn’t disabled comments, you’re probably getting email notifications each time a comment is pending approval or waiting for your reply. While these are probably useful for a “one-time notification”, there’s no reason to keep them in your inbox/archive.

        Delete All Blog Comment Notifications

          Tip #3: Clean Up Email Subscriptions

          Search option one: [unsubscribe]

          Search option two: [from:news* OR from:digest* OR from:auto* OR from:reports* OR from:*mailer*]

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          Not all emails here are likely to be worth deleting (I usually refer back to my most important email subscriptions if I forget a link or need a citation for a blog post, for example). But this search is a great starting point. Now you can go through search results and check any email you don’t think you need to keep. Simply click on “Filter messages like this” and create a filter to delete all of them.

          Filter messages like this

            You can also unsubscribe while you are there to prevent future emails. I mean, it’s a good thing to clean up your email subscriptions as well while you are there…right?

            Bonus Tip: And there’s an app for that! Unroll.me is a great online tool that lets you sign in (using Gmail authentication) and then scans your email inbox for possible subscriptions. You can unsubscribe from any of the emails right from within the tool interface:

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            unroll.me

              Emails I Never Delete

              Like I said, I love my Gmail inbox for archiving all of my correspondence for me and keeping it in “the cloud”. No matter how often I move from computer to computer or change email clients, I can always rest assured that my email archive is intact.

              As a result, I don’t like deleting too much of my email — especially the following types:

              • Personal correspondence with my contacts (obviously);
              • Invoices and payment confirmations;
              • Brand-name tracking updates (from Google Alerts, for example). These could be turned into the great source of brand-growth analysis. Besides, they can be used to later bring up your brand promoters.

              To make sure I never accidentally delete important emails when doing regular clean up, I create a “Always mark it as important” filter.

              Filter important emails

                Do you have any tips for cleaning up your email inbox? Please let me know in the comments!

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                Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                Joe’s Goals

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                  Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                  Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                  Daytum

                    Daytum

                    is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                    Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                    Excel or Numbers

                      If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                      What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                      Evernote

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                        I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                        Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                        Access or Bento

                          If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                          Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                          You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                          Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                          All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                          Conclusion

                          I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                          What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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