Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Tips on organizing e-newsletters using Gmail

I’m in the middle of signing up for a ton of e-newsletters for project research, and feeling that overwhelming sense of email dread that comes from a too-full inbox and not enough time. But it’s not that big a deal, because a couple of years ago I built in some tools to make managing e-newsletters easy.

First off, I recommend against using your work email for newsletters. First, it means they all disappear if you leave your job, and you might regret that. Second, if your workplace is anything like mine have been, your email storage limit is laughable and you’re always having to clean it out. Third, if you’re one of the poor souls stuck using Lotus Notes, they all look terrible anyways. Save yourself the trouble by using an online email service for your e-newsletters. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could even create an account just for them, though that runs the risk of forgetting to check.

I recommend using Gmail for this purpose. There are things I don’t like about it, but overall it’s the best tool for the job, mainly because it has good filtering tools and huge storage space.

What I do is filter all newsletters into a couple of mailboxes – one for web and digital-related topics, one for lifestyle and magazine newsletters. They bypass the inbox and go straight into their special folders, meaning they don’t interrupt me during my day (I’m not the only one who has attention problems when there’s new mail, right?) and I can bulk-read them efficiently. You can create the system that works for you (and I might update mine too) – for instance, all food-related newsletters in one mailbox, all health-related newsletters in another. Another benefit of using Gmail is that filtering is done by tags, which means you can “store” messages in more than one folder. For instance, you might mark your favourite newsletters – whether it’s for design or story ideas – with a tag that keeps them in a special folder and makes them easier to find. Here are the filtering instructions from Google.

Do you have any tips on organizing e-newsletters?

- Kat Tancock
About Me
Kat Tancock
Kat Tancock is a freelance writer, editor and digital consultant based in Toronto. She has worked on the sites of major brands including Reader's Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living, Homemakers, Elle Canada and Style at Home and teaches the course Creating Website Editorial at Ryerson University.
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