Show me yer rig! (Gmail filters edition)

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=12937871&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

See it bigger on Vimeo.

Joining its brethren, the screencasts on Google Reader and gCal, is a little (too long of a) video on one specific thing I really like about gmail, its filters.

Pretty much every email program has filters of some kind built in, but I like how easy gmail makes it to set them up, especially once you start making use of keyboard shortcuts (and a cheat sheet can help with that).

The specific hack I added is a top-level (i.e., above-the-fold) label named, reasonably enough, “add to filter.” (I mistakenly call the label a filter in the screencast, but it’s definitely a label. You create labels, which you can use to help you with filtering.) When bacn-y email shows up in my inbox and I don’t have time to deal with it right then, I grab it and move it to the “add to filter” label. I then clean that out once or twice a month, creating filters for stuff I want to funnel somewhere, or sometimes just unsubscribing to something on the spot. I definitely suffer from eyes-bigger-than-stomach syndrome when it comes to bacn.

You don’t even have to watch the video if video ain’t your thing. My main point here is to draw attention to the advantage of taking time to do one small thing (automate your email sorting) if it helps free up time and headspace to do big things (work, nap, etc.).

Although if there was enough interest, I could do an additional, longer video or post about gmail workflow, with screen captures on the taxonomy I’m using with labels, which has helped me tame the beast. But maybe not. Email is a really personal thing. Plus, isn’t everyone sick of talking about it? And haven’t most of you given up on email for anything useful or fun and just gone to Twitter and Facebook?

I know I get enough dang “emails” in Facebook.

As usual, comments, criticisms and observations welcome, especially those that will help me improve. And questions? Of course!

xxx
c

2 comments

  1. Ok, the whole drag and drop thing is pretty rad (are we still allowed to say ‘rad’?)… I’d never noticed that feature!

    I use filters to help manage the different email addresses I use. I have personal, newsletter signup, a couple different business ones, etc. I use filters to label according to the address it was sent to so I can easily scan the business emails and deal with the other stuff later.

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