How to Use Gmail Filters Like a Pro For Reducing Email Stress

Chaitanya Tapase

Every morning you wake up and most times, even before you think about brushing your teeth, you start checking your phone. And lo and behold, your Gmail account is flooded with dozens of mails that may or may not require your attention. Sure, you can always check those later, but the mails keep piling on and soon, it’s a landslide.

Gmail on a computer
Take the stress out of checking your emails | Shutterstock

Nobody likes to deal with unnecessary mails and reducing stress of managing the barrage of mails is exactly what we’re gonna help you with. Since Gmail is the client of choice of a majority of people, let’s see how those nifty filters can help keep our blood pressures in check.

Beginners Guide: If you’re unsure about any of these terms, make sure you check out our guide on tags, filters and labels for Gmail.

1. No Point Reading ALL Emails

Most of the annoying mails that I get are simply confirmations. At times a new website or service you sign up for (which you can’t anticipate mails from) and at times familiar addresses bombarding your inbox. For the familiar ones, I have created a filter which automatically marks these mails are read and you can even go ahead and add labels like ‘autoread’ to keep your inbox tidy.

Auto Read

As you can see I’ve added the Amazon confirmation mailer to this custom filter, and you can even add it to the entire ‘amazon.com’ (amazon.in in my case) domain name. Make these filters for all such emails, there really is no point in reading all of them anyway.

2. Ever Heard of Boolean?

Quite simply, Boolean is the term which closely resembles the ‘conjunction’ of the English language. You can use words like AND, OR or NOT to search your Gmail. Similarly, you might want to ignore most of the automated emails except a few important ones from certain domains. For e.g., while you’ve blocked all your order confirmation mails from Amazon, you probably do NOT want to auto-read the ones which have the word ‘problem’ in them.

Filters with Boolean

3. Filters + Labels Go Hand-in-Hand

Adding labels to sorted emails will give you a much better visual idea of what is going on with all these emails arriving in your inbox. The important mails with the above filters can have a more striking red (or similar) colored label, whereas the unimportant one can be left alone.

labels and filters

4. Shining Stars

Adding stars to the most important mails that need your immediate attention is a good way of keeping priorities in order. The easiest way of doing this would be, to open the mail which you think is really important and select the Filter messages like these option.

Star from filters

On the next familiar Gmail filter screen, select Create filter with this search and in the next screen select the check box for Star it. You can even check the box below for Also apply filter to x matching conversations, which will automatically star existing conversations with the selected filter.

Star this

5. Bulk Up

Well, not literally! Gmail lets you create bulk filters for the same action. So, for the same action above, if you already know the mail addresses of people (or they are part of your contacts list) simply go ahead and create a filter with the Boolean OR and the same rule can be applied to all their emails from now on.

Bulk selection

Of course, feel free to check these boxes for Has attachment and Don’t include chats for further segregation.

Bulk filter selection

Applying labels to bulk mail ids also works just fine and is a good idea if you want to separate your work and play mails with different color labels.

Don’t Over-complicate

Whatever you choose to do with these tips, try and not go overboard. You want to keep things simple by applying simple rules that work to keep your mails in order. If you have any queries or questions, join us in our forums. We’d love to hear how you want your Gmail filters to work.

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Chaitanya Tapase has varied interests in Technology from Android to Windows to DSLR Photography. On weekends, you'd find him catching up on TV Shows like Game of Thrones and enjoying House Music.