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Organize Your Email With Multiple Inboxes In 7 Simple Steps

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My email is essentially my to-do list. Some of my emails are threads around a pending project, some are about a relationship I'm working with a new writer. Each one requires a certain response and prioritization in my day.

That's where Gmail's "Multiple Inboxes" can help.

First, let's define some terms to be on the same page.

  • Primary Inbox: This is the main Gmail inbox most users currently have. It stores all your email as it comes in, and only leaves this section when you archive an email or move it to another folder.
  • Multiples Inboxes: These are the new mini inboxes we are creating alongside your primary inbox to organize your inbox into multiple sections based on the email type. They can only be implemented for accounts that do not use Gmail's Promotions/etc tabs. 

Interested in multiple inboxes? Below are the seven steps I took to organize and implement mine. As result, I'm saving hours of time in my daily email routine, and perhaps you can too. That is, if you enjoy being a nutty organizer like me!

1. Navigate to your Gmail settings.

Simply click the gear icon at the top right of your primary Gmail inbox. Under the dropdown that appears, select "Settings."

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2. In the top navigation that appears, click "Labs."

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3. Search for "Multiple Inboxes," and select "Enable."

Be sure to click "save changes," after which Gmail will automatically re-direct you back to your inbox. But we're not done just yet ...

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4.
Create labels for each email type you'd like to bucket.

In the left-side panel of your inbox, you'll find all your labels under the "Compose" button. By scrolling down to "Create New Label," I can create the various groups I'd like to bucket my different email types into.

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>Personally, I enjoy organizing my inboxes based on the action related to the email. Some of my emails need a response, even if I can't get to them right away. Others are to-do list items I simply can't forget. The remaining emails end up being items I can store in a sectioned-off backlog to return to.

- Pro Tip -

To be extra organized in my inbox, I color-code each label. When clicking the little downwards pointing arrow next to the label in the left-hand panel, I simply select "Label color," helping me visually present my multiple inboxes.

5. With your labels created, navigate back to "Settings."

You may not find that gear icon to get to your settings on your new screen anymore - that's because we haven't finished setting up our new inbox real estate. For now, scroll down until you see the gear icon. Navigate back to your Settings, and this time click "Multiple Inboxes" in the top navigation.

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6. Now, set the labels you'd like to appear in your inboxes.

Under "Current searches for the multiple inboxes," I input the additional inboxes I'd like in my inbox. These correspond with the labels I mentioned in step four. In order to properly display these inboxes, be sure to use the format "is:label-name." Your queries will need to be lower-case and use dashes instead of spaces.

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You can also select the max number of emails that can appear in each inbox at a time - similar to how Gmail automatically displays 50 emails per page in your primary inbox. I also opt to have my new multiples inboxes appear to the right of my main inbox (as shown in the visual in step seven).

- Pro Tip -

To help me handle my "To Do" emails, I often schedule email reminders with HubSpot Sales Free. That way, I can email-remind myself when I need to complete a task by scheduling the email to arrive in my inbox when it's due.

7. Click "Save Changes" to head back to your organized inbox.

Voila! Your new inbox should now look something like the one below.

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If you found this post helpful, let me know in the comments. To get the most out of your email apps, check out these Gmail keyword shortcuts as well.

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