Reduce Distractions and Stay in the Zone with an Aggressive GMail Filtering Strategy

Staying “in the zone” becomes increasingly difficult with the plethora of ways to be distracted. Especially if you spend most of your time in front a computer. Between email, IM’s, RSS feeds, phone calls and text messages it’s a wonder we ever actually find time to work for than 15 minutes at a time.

My hope is that this simple tip will help you avoid at least one of these distractions multiple times per day … the non-important email. Before you continue, you may also want to check out How to Forward an Email as a Text Message.

Follow these simple steps to reach email bliss (or at least a slight tingling sensation):

1. You check your email and note that you did not see that email at the current moment and indeed you have disrupted your flow.

2. Click the “create a filter” link up at the top and then fill out the filter criteria. Usually I just use the From or To field because when filtering by keywords you may mistakenly filter emails that are indeed important.

3. Use “Skip the Inbox” if it is an email you would like to see at some point of your choosing or use the “Delete It” filter to remove it from your life forever.

4. Once a day or at some other frequency of your choosing type label:unread into the GMail search box to see all the emails that did not disrupt your flow.

5. Bask in your own glory and then process the filtered emails at your leisure.

The value of this method lies in how aggressively you filter. After practicing this method for several months, I hardly ever see a non-important email in my Inbox (this is especially useful when checking email on the iPhone) … and when I do … filter time!

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