I keep my email set up as simple as possible. I run all my email accounts through one inbox and then use archive and delete buttons as well as the search feature. I also consistently unsubscribe from junk mail. Despite all this I’ve noticed that the few email subscriptions that I don’t want to unroll from (airfare watchdog, Harvard Business Review, Seth Godin, etc.) seem to be cluttering up my inbox and distracted me from my high leverage emails. Enter my new favorite gmail filter (props to Ari Meisel and his Less Doing, More Living book for the idea)…a filter that automatically takes all my subscribed services and puts them in an folder labeled “optional”. As in: “reading these emails is optional and you can do it whenever you want”. I feel more relaxed already.
1) First create a folder wherever you would like all of these emails to be sent. Click the drop down box and click “add sublabel” and then name your folder. I named mine “Optional”
2) From your inbox click on the little dropdown button on the search bar.
3) Now add your filter information. In the Has the Words line enter unsubscribe. In the Doesn’t have line enter the letters RE FWD FW. This mean that it won’t filter emails that you are interacting with a somone about (i.e. forwarding or responding to) that has the word unsubscribe in it.
4) In that same box click on Create filter with this search.
5) Lastly, check the Skip the Inbox (Archive it) box, check the Apply the label button and then select your “Optional” folder
That should do it. Now watch the stress melt away as all those “optional” emails get forwarded to an seperate folder and keep you focused on the real work you need to do.
***Need to remove these emails from your “optional folder” after you’ve finally read them? From your “optional” folder just click either remove label (if you would like keep them archived) or select delete to banish them forever.