in Best Practices

Gmail Labels Saved My Life

I love Gmail. Love it, love it, love it. However, despite its amazing internal search capabilities, it’s still sometimes hard to find important email. I’ve been on Gmail since the beta first launched (thanks to my old friend Kevin Fox). As a former Information Architect, I loved the labeling feature and have experimented with labeling over the years. My goal was to find the optimal labels that would enable me to find crucial email quickly. I began with a few obvious ones. At the time I was only running Davezilla.com, so most of my labels were centered around the blog and the various content fans would send me.

  • Davezilla.com
  • Fan Mail
  • Hate Mail
  • UCG Images
  • UCG Videos
  • UCG Links
  • Link of the Day

Helpful at the time. But now I run 14 sites including 3 blogs, and host sites for several friends. I needed more structure and labels that included more of what I was doing. I will spare you the in-betweens and get right to where I netted out today. I find this labeling structure to be pretty solid for freelancers, agency and digital folk, writers and developers of all kinds.

  • Domains (Any information from domain registrars about a domain)
  • Registration (Used for log in info, registration emails and license keys
  • Freelance (Used for first contact with a new client to remind me who they are)
  • Supplier (Because I hate the word ‘vendor’)
  • Content (Copy, strategy, presentations, etc.)
  • Assets (Media, photos, videos, etc.)
  • Need (Used when I get a project, but don’t have all the information I need)
  • Follow-up (An extra measure in case I forget to add this to my to-do list app)
  • Complete (Job is out the door)
  • Financial (Billing, invoices, receipts, statements, etc.)

Finally, I use color as a helpful indicator. I use all red with white text for Need and a soothing blue with dark blue text for Complete. Green for Financial. These little details really help. Don’t believe me? Label 10 emails with Need in red and see how important they look! What about you? What labels do you use?

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