Staying Super-Organized with Gmail and iPhone

2010-04-10

I’m a big fan of the “Getting Things Done” method, and also a Gmail and iPhone power-user. Here are some of my tricks for staying on top of things:

1. Empty Inbox. I open an email, quickly judge if it requires any action from my side. If I can do it quickly, I do it immediately. If I need to save the email for reference, I archive it (Gmail has a great big “Archive” button on the toolbar).
I aim to have zero email in the Inbox when I log out.

2. Labels and Filters. I put labels on almost everything; one for each project, a “Receipts” label for all purchases, etc.
And I almost have a filter set up for every label, so I won’t have to tag manually.

3. iPhone sorting. All my labels are available on the iPhone as well, but they appear as folders instead. I can quickly apply labels and archive email by dropping them in the appropriate folder, and it syncs with Gmail. Cleaning the inbox via the phone is a great way of spending downtime while commuting etc.

4. Power search. Gmail’s search functionality is as powerful as it is underused. Typing “from:Martin in:MyProject has:attachment” quickly gets me what I’m looking for.