5 Pro Tips for the Perfect Inbox


Master your Gmail inbox with this very short training and never miss an important email anymore. Here are five pro tips for the perfect inbox. Watch the training video for an overview, and dive in with the details below when you are ready to conquer.

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Tip 1 Filter Important Emails

GOAL – Keep important emails at the top of your inbox, leave unimportant emails at the bottom

HOW-TO – Change your inbox type

  1. In Gmail, in the top right corner of the screen under your picture, click the cog wheel > Settings
  2. Click on the tab called Inbox
  3. Click on the Inbox type drop down and choose Important first
  4. Scroll down and click on Save Changes
5 Pro Tips for a Perfect Inbox - #1 Filter Important Emails

Filter Important Emails

The list of inbox types includes important first, unread first, starred first and priority inbox. I am showcasing my favorite option but your workflow may be different.

Tip 2 Enable Undo Send Email

GOAL – Fix your mistake, stupid! Retrieve an email you just sent

HOW-TO – Enable undo send

  1. Click the cog wheel > Settings
  2. Click on the tab called General
  3. Check the option to Enable Undo Send
  4. Choose the delay
  5. Scroll down and click on Save Changes

With this option enabled, instead of leaving your outbox right away, the message you just sent will hang around for 5-30 seconds while you make up your mind.

5 Pro Tips for the Perfect Inbox - 2 Undo Send Email 1

Enable Undo Send

This allows me to disguise my stupidity on a daily basis.

5 Pro Tips for the Perfect Inbox - 2 Undo Send Email 2

Control+Z that Stupid Email

Tip 3 Personalize your Email

GOAL – Increase the friendliness factor of your email

5 Pro Tips for the Perfect Inbox - Personalize your email

Personalize your email

HOW-TO Add a picture to your account

  1. Click the cog wheel > Settings
  2. Click on the tab called General
  3. Click on My Picture > Change Picture
  4. Crop the photo so only your head is in the frame
  5. Scroll down and click on Save Changes

Don’t take a selfie with your webcam at 10pm under fluorescent light. Go for a vacation photo where you are relaxed and possibly even smiling.

HOW-TO Add a signature

  1. Click the cog wheel > Settings
  2. Click on the tab called General
  3. Click on Signature
  4. Type in a brief signature
  5. Scroll down and click on Save Changes

Make your signature brief. Think more within the line of “name, position, school” then a summary of your resume. I’m not a huge fan of quotes either, but if that’s your style…

HOW-TO Respond with emojis

  1. Click on that little pacman at the bottom of your email
  2. Match it to your mood
5 Pro Tips for the Perfect Inbox - Show Emotions with Emojis

Show Emotions with Emojis

Research backs up the little yellow face. Emoticons will make you appear more competent and friendly, they create a happier workplace, and they correlate with real-life happiness (read more benefits on Buffer Social). What more do you need 😉 ?

Tip 4 Separate Personal and Professional Accounts

GOAL – Manage your personal and professional emails in one browser

HOW-TO – Set up multiple profiles in your web browser

  1. Click on Chrome > Settings
  2. Click on Manage People
  3. Create a profile for your work account and another one for your personal one
  4. To switch between work and personal accounts, click in the top right corner of your browser.
5 Pro Tips for the Perfect Inbox - Multiple Browser Profiles

5 Pro Tips for the Perfect Inbox – Multiple Browser Profiles

Google Chrome Help has more detailed instructions on how to add a profile.

I typically open each account into a different window and recently I have learned to put each account on a different desktop to avoid interferences. I also like to change themes between my accounts (Settings > Themes). This gives me instant visual clues on which account I am looking at.

Tip 5 Clean Up Your Contacts

GOAL – Take control over the auto-complete

HOW-TO – Clean up the wrong email addresses that pop-up with auto-complete

  1. Click on Mail
  2. Click on Contacts (in the top left corner under the logo, drop down from Mail)
  3. Click on Others in the left sidebar towards the bottom
  4. Check the box in front of the undesired email addresses (blank ones, old KAS emails, anybody you don’t recognize)
  5. Click on More > Delete Contacts
5 Pro Tips for the Perfect Inbox - Clean Up Your Contacts

Clean Up Your Contacts

The list of email addresses under Contacts > Others contains all the emails that get automatically collected when you respond to an email. You will want to clean that list. When I do my contacts spring clean up, I also take a little time to add missing information (names, phone numbers, place of work) to existing contacts.

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