G Suite: Managing Your Email Inbox

If you feel like you are wasting too much time reading and responding to emails or you get so many emails everyday you don’t know where to start or how to keep up, here are some strategies and tools to help.

First, take a moment and consider how you read your email. 

  • Is it always open?  
  • Do you check it constantly when you’re working on your computer?  
  • Do you have a smartphone that notifies you every time a new email has arrived?
  • Do you feel tied to your email like it is your “to-do” list?
  • Do you think people are expecting you to answer your email immediately; within two hours; the same day?

Because so many people do use smartphones and mobile devices, there is an expectation that email is instant and demands an instant response.  You can take control and change those expectations.  If something does require an immediate response then a phone call should be the medium, not email. Or, you can change the expectation of how quickly you respond to email.

An example of this is if you are a faculty member and you schedule blocks of time on your calendar for office hours for your students.  In the same way, you could block specific times in your daily schedule to read and respond to your email.

Here are two articles that explore how we use our email with strategies on how we can control it.

From the Harvard Business Review

 HBR Blog Network Coping with Email Overload

by Peter Bregman  |   4:05 PM April 26, 2012

Article on Lifehack.com

Five Simple Yet Effective Tips For Managing Your Email by

by Thanh Pham

Create an Auto-Reply

Normally, the auto-reply feature is used when you’re out of the office on vacation, but you can use it to provide information that is frequently asked for.  For example, if you are a faculty member and students regularly ask you for your office hours, you can put that information in an auto-reply and set it to respond only to “georgefox.edu” emails. 

Turn on Email Labs

Canned Responses

There are several email labs that will help you manage your emails.  If the auto-reply feature is too broad and you want something more specific you can use the “Canned Responses” lab.

If you find yourself retyping the same email response over and over, this lab will allow you to create and save several different responses to frequently asked questions and use these saved responses to reply to emails.  

Smart Labels

This is another email lab that you can turn on and use to filter your emails.

Smart Labels automatically categorizes incoming Bulk, Notification or Forum messages. Filters are created to label mail with these categories and Bulk is filtered out of the Inbox by default. You can identity emails that you want (or do not want)to be identified as Bulk, Notification or Forum messages and it will learn as you receive new emails.

Preview Pane

Provides a preview pane to read mail right next to your list of conversations, making mail reading faster and adding more context. If you used to be an Outlook user and liked this feature you can still use it in Google Apps Email.

Try a Different Inbox View

Inbox View

Configure Your InboxNew Feature

Try out a new inbox style to quickly organize your inbox in a way that fits you best. Your inbox can be organized into tabs like Social and Promotions, or into sections like Unread, Starred, and Important.

Click on the Settings icon an choose Configure inbox

Gmail Settings


Learn how to manage the spam features to get rid of unwanted emails.

Manage Spam

Archiving vs Deleting your Google Email?

If you're positive you won't need a message again, use the Delete button to send it to Trash.

Deleted messages and conversations are permanently removed from Gmail 30 days after you send them to Trash.

If it's possible that you'll need a message or conversation in the future, we recommend archiving.

Note: Accepting a Calendar invitation in your email and then deleting the email will result in declining the event even if you already accepted.  The event creator will receive both an accepted response and a declined response.  Always archive calendar invitations to avoid this.

Archiving mail moves messages out of your inbox and into your "All Mail" label for safekeeping-- you won't be bothered with extra messages cluttering your inbox, but you'll still be able to find a message if you need it six years from now because space is not a problem!

What is 'All Mail'?

All Mail is your archive, a storage place for all the mail you've ever sent or received, but have not deleted.

You can see a list of archived messages by clicking All Mail. If the All Mail link is not visible by default in your inbox, click on the More dropdown menu

under your Labels list to visualize it. Archived messages are also available by searching, and under any assigned labels.

To archive mail:

  1. Select the message(s) you'd like to archive by checking the box(es) next

    to the sender's name.

  2. Click Archive at the top of your inbox.

You also can archive mail after you open it -- just click Archive along the top

of the message.


With all of these suggestions there are ways to quickly learn how to use any of these features. You don’t have to attend a special class or training session. 

Start with our IT website: http://www.georgefox.edu/offices/it/google-apps/index.html

For a comprehensive list of how-to’s, use Google’s official learning site: 

Google Apps Learning Center

Video Guides are helpful because it’s nice to see how someone else did it.  Google Apps has a channel on YouTube and you can search by topic.  They are usually short (less than five minutes) and easy to follow. Be aware these have been uploaded by individual users and are not official Google videos.

Organize Your Gmail Inbox

Questions? Contact the Service Desk | servicedesk@georgefox.edu | 503-554-2569