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The Life Changing Benefits of Google’s Primary Inbox

GoogleInboxsmI blogged recently that Matrix Group switched over to Google Apps. I have had a personal Gmail account for many years now and my family can’t function without our shared family Google calendar.

So now I have Gmail at work and I’m loving it. I especially love Gmail’s inbox configurations. Here’s how it works.

You can have one inbox and all of your email will flow into it. Minus the spam, of course, which Gmail does a great job of filtering. So far, no false positives.

Or, you can configure your email to have multiple inboxes. The default setting divides your email into Primary, Social, Promotions and Updates. Gmail will automatically put email notifications from sites likes Twitter and Facebook into the Social inbox. Ecommerce promotional emails from sites like Nordstrom and Snapfish go into Promotions. Email newsletters and bulk emails usually go into Updates. Spam goes into a spam folder and you get a summary each day. Everything else goes into Primary.

This auto sorting by Gmail has been life changing. I actually feel like I can focus on the emails that need my attention most. Like the email from a client wanting an update. The inquiry from a prospect. The request from a staff member for clarification on a set of project specs. My inbox has gone from hundreds of emails a day to fewer than a hundred.

The best part? I can train Gmail to do a better job of sorting my emails.

The emails to the DC Web Women list were going into Primary. I moved a message to Updates and Gmail asked if future messages should be sorted that way. Yes, please!

Email newsletters from my sons’ school were going into Updates so I moved one into a Primary and now those messages go into Primary. Phew! Now maybe I won’t miss the next opportunity to come into the classroom and read with my son.

It’s still a battle to manage all of my emails. I still have to go into each inbox and review the emails and take action, tag for later, unsubscribe or delete.

But when I’m busy, I know that Gmail will do the first line of sorting so I can focus on the most important emails of the day. Yes, I still get behind, BUT I don’t feel as buried at the end of each day. This is a victory.

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