How I Keep My Email Organized

While studying for a job interview last week, I stumbled upon an interesting question someone was asked during an interview:

How do you keep your email organized?

My email organization strategy has been to get email out of my inbox so that only important email shows up there. I catch unimportant emails with filters and tag them with labels that I check at my leisure.

I have roughly 100 filters that tell incoming emails to apply labels, skip the inbox, forward, mark as read, etc. For example, I have all store mailing list emails skip the inbox and apply a special “Mailing” label. I then go through the unread “Mailing” emails whenever I feel like getting around to it.

Between Google’s spam detection and my filters, not much gets through to my inbox. I also archive email once I’m done with it, so my inbox stays pretty empty. The dozen or so emails I keep in my inbox are things that I am waiting for or need to attend to. They include things like receipts for Groupon, Google Offers, and Living Social purchases that I have not yet used, current freelance work correspondence, emails about upcoming events, and emails that I have not yet responded to.

I have found that keeping my email organized like this takes the hassle out of email. I’m not bombarded by tons of email that I have to sort through each day and I know that when I get an email notification (through Google Talk and/or my mobile phone), it is something that probably needs my attention.