Internet Productivity

How to Master Gmail Inbox Anxiety

Sandy Writtenhouse 04-01-2017

So many emails, so little time. Do you feel this way when it comes to managing your Gmail inbox 3 Quick Gmail Tips to Make Your Inbox Easier to Use Gmail is simple enough to use, but these tips will help you do things you didn't know were possible. Read More ?


It can be difficult to find the important messages when your inbox is flooded. But, with simple setting adjustments and helpful tools, you can avoid Gmail inbox anxiety.

Select a Style

Gmail offers several different types of inbox views and each can be customized. Whether you want to see the most important messages first or those that are unread, the Inbox Type setting has you covered.

The Default inbox type sorts your emails by category into tabs. This is a convenient way to keep the social, promotional, update, and forum messages separate from your primary ones. You can also enable or disable the tabs.

gmail settings default type

The Important First type is perfect for seeing the most critical messages first. This creates two sections; one with the important messages at the top and one with everything else underneath. You can also choose to have from 5–50 items in each area.

The Unread First and Starred First types work just like the Important First type with two sections each.

gmail settings important first

To make your selection, click the gear icon > Settings > Inbox. Then, choose from the Inbox type drop-down box.

If you get anxious waiting for an email or hunting for one that you need, maybe changing your inbox style is the right move.

Proceed With Priorities

With Gmail, you can prioritize your important messages easily. And, if you make a few simple adjustments, future incoming emails will be sorted and marked accordingly.

Priority Inbox

Another style that uses sections is the Priority Inbox. This type puts your important and unread messages first, your starred second, and then everything else at the bottom by default. But what is nice about this type is that you can adjust the sections to suit your needs.

gmail settings priority inbox

For example, if you prefer to have your unread messages first, followed by the important ones, it is a simple change. Another great feature of the Priority Inbox is that you can add a section based on one of your labels. This is handy if you want to view certain labeled emails quickly.

Importance Markers

The Importance Markers section can be helpful for determining which messages should be marked as such. And if you use the Priority Inbox or Important First styles, make sure that you check out these options.

gmail settings importance markers

Gmail analyzes your incoming emails and marks them as important accordingly. The determination includes several factors including your activity on similar messages and common keywords in those you read. If you prefer not to use this prediction feature, you can disable it in the settings.

Both options can be set by selecting the gear icon > Settings > Inbox.

So if priority emails are your biggest concern, then consider these options. When you use the Priority Inbox type and adjust your Importance Markers, you will always have the most crucial messages at your fingertips.

Lead With Labels

Gmail labels Rediscover Gmail Labels and Finally Tame Your Inbox There are plenty of tricks to deal with email overload, but there's one right under your nose that you might not be using: good old Gmail labels. Read More  are key to an organized inbox. If you set up labels, then your messages will be automatically tagged with your assigned titles and colors. This makes it easy for you to see certain emails at a glance as well as have them grouped.

You can think of labels as folders in a sense. When a label is created, it will display in your inbox list and contain all messages that apply to it. You can also nest labels under others, similar to the subfolder concept.

gmail settings create label

You can create, edit, show, hide, and remove labels by selecting the gear icon > Settings > Labels. You can apply and create new labels while you have an email open by clicking the label icon. You can also do this from the main screen if you have one or more messages checked.

Fill Out the Filters

The Filter feature of Gmail 5 Gmail Filters to Help Prioritize & Organize Your Inbox What filters should each and every person have in their arsenal so that their inbox is as orderly as mine? I'm here to help you get started in setting up your first five filters, or... Read More can be a powerful weapon against feeling overwhelmed. Like the rules feature in Outlook, you can set up triggers for emails to be flagged, labeled, archived, starred, and more. This allows you to view a more organized inbox right when you open it.

You can create, edit, and delete filters by selecting the gear icon > Settings > Filters and Blocked Addresses. If you have an email open that you would like to set up a filter for, just select the more arrow next to the Reply button and choose Filter messages like this. You can also do this from the main inbox screen by using the checkboxes to mark the emails.

gmail settings view filters

When the filter pop-up window appears, you will select your filtering options. First, you will pick what types of messages you want filtered. As examples, you can choose to have all messages from a certain recipient, with a specific word in the subject line or message body, or those that have an attachment.

gmail settings create filter

You will then click Create filter with this search and choose the action(s) to take. You can select more than one action such as applying a label, marking it as important, and categorizing it.

Move Swiftly With Shortcuts

For zipping through your inbox 15 Useful Gmail Shortcuts You Might've Forgotten About For those who use Gmail's web interface, these keyboard shortcuts will instantly boost your productivity. Read More and taking action on messages quickly, keyboard shortcuts can come in handy. First, make sure that you have the option enabled by selecting the gear icon > Settings > General > Keyboard Shortcuts.

You can use many keyboard shortcuts for composing messages, formatting text, taking actions, and navigation. This allows you to manage and handle your inbox faster. Here are just some of the common shortcuts that can help you, but you can also visit Gmail Help for a complete list:

  • Compose an email: C
  • Reply to an email: R
  • Forward an email: F
  • Delete an email: #
  • Mark as read: Shift + I
  • Mark as important: + or =
  • Go to a label: G + L
  • Go to inbox: G + I

Aim for Applications

While Gmail does have useful features to help you make it through your inbox smoothly, you can also use a convenient application.

Boomerang for Gmail

For scheduling emails to send later Schedule Your Messages Inside Gmail With Boomerang Baydin (the company behind Boomerang) has just announced that users can reschedule messages inside Gmail once they have already been scheduled. Read More and receiving helpful reminders, Boomerang for Gmail is a terrific tool. When you have the time to sit down and write an email, but do not want it sent immediately, this app is convenient. And if you need to follow up on a message at another time, set up a nifty reminder.

Boomerang for Gmail also has a feature for reminding you of a message if you do not hear back from the recipient. This feature makes following up with emails easy and alleviates you trying to remember on your own.

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail is another application that can help you with your inbox 10 Super Efficient Ways Inbox by Gmail Saves You Time Inbox by Gmail is Google's most recent approach to email organization and management. It can give you a simpler email workflow. Find out if Inbox by Gmail can be the better choice for you. Read More . This standalone tool stems from Google’s Gmail to offer easier message management. You can turn emails into to-dos, use pre-crafted replies, create reminders, and snooze messages for later.

When you first log into Inbox by Gmail, you will see that all of the labels you created in Gmail will be there. And, you will notice a great feature for sorting your incoming messages, called Bundles.

Like the categories in Gmail for social, promotional, and forum messages, the application provides a few more. Your trips, purchases, and finance emails will fall into categories as well. All of this makes viewing your inbox a breeze.

So, if you are interested in a little extra help organizing, scheduling, and remembering, try a helpful tool.

How Do You Handle Inbox Anxiety?

You do not have to spend time trying to get your Gmail inbox under control Regain Control Over Your Inbox With These 5 Tips For Managing Gmail Everyone knows that these days, it's pretty difficult to survive or to manage your affairs without email. In fact, most people have two or three emails to manage, so without a good handle on email... Read More . And these days, who has the time to waste? These helpful tips can alleviate the stress of a flooded inbox.

Do you have an effective process or handy tool that you use to manage your Gmail inbox? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: alphaspirit via

Explore more about: Email Tips, Gmail, Google Inbox, Stress Management.

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  1. Thomas Brewer
    January 4, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I've found Canned Responses by Chad P to be extremely useful and time saving:

    Email for the truly lazy. Save and then send your common messages using a button next to the compose form. Also automatically send emails using filters.

  2. Tobyn
    January 4, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Timely article! The new year is a great time to get your inbox under control. If you have more than one Gmail account, you might want to try using Shift:

    Disclosure: this is a shameless plug for Shift, I'm the CEO.

  3. Rob
    January 4, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I'd also add NetHunt CRM to the list of extensions if you're using Gmail for business. Does a great job at organizing your inbox and customers.