Today I deleted labels from my email. Over time, I’ve created a bunch of labels and filters and rules in Gmail. I’ve starred, flagged, and prioritized emails. But I don’t think I’ve ever used the labels, flags, stars, or filters for anything productive. I’ve basically ignored them when viewing mail in Gmail via the web.
Today I started experimenting with Gmail via Apple’s Mail app. Mail App creates “folders” from each of those labels which was unnecessarily cluttering up my overall view of mail. No longer was I able to simply ignore all of these labels. So, I logged into Gmail, went to Filters settings, deleted all filters. Then I went to labels and removed all custom labels.
Life may not be simplified, but now at least my email is as simple as this:
I know there are countless systems which depend on some type of labeling or filtering system for email. I’ve read Getting Things Done. I’ve read multiple blog posts about prioritizing, routing, and archiving email. When reading about such systems, it seems to make sense. Yet in practice I’ve found my mind to be a much better at organizing information than email labels are. When I need to find an email, I can easily recall a large enough snippet of the email in order to search for it and find it. I’ve found it easier to use my mind’s natural capacity to layer an labeling system between my mind and information stored in email.
Your mind has an amazing capacity to retain, organize, and recall information. Use it!