04. Getting Organized


Unlike most email providers, Gmail doesn't user folders, it uses "Labels". Label are essentially the same idea but with a huge bonus, you can store emails in multiple labels. Meaning I can label my email as "Homework" but I can leave it in my inbox until I do it. Then when I'm done, I hit the Archive button and it's removed from my inbox and stored in my Homework "folder".

You can have as many labels as you need, including sub-labels to help you organize them. You can also color code the labels in your Gmail sidebar to help you quickly find the one you need.


Under your settings and the labels tab, you can choose which labels are shown in your sidebar, and which are hidden. You also have the option of only showing the label when there are unread messages.

For example, I don't see my spam folder in the sidebar unless there is an unread spam message. You can access all the labels by clicking the "more" button below your labels.


To add a color or sub-label, hover over the label you want to change and click on the little arrow that appears (it'll show up on the little color block). This will open up some options for you to choose from


Using filters and a good label system is helpful, but that's not what will keep your inbox clean. A proper workflow for how you manage and read new emails is the most important aspect of the whole "inbox zero idea". Ask your self these questions and then watch the video for ideas on how to maximize your inbox and limit the time you spend on emails.


  • How many times do you check your email per day? How many times per week?
  • How many unread emails are in your inbox currently? What percentage of those are actually important?
  • How many email newsletters are you subscribed to? (Just give a ball park guess) How many of those do you actually read?
  • Do you answer emails right away or put them off for later?
  • Do you use canned emails or templates to answer commonly asked questions?