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Inbox Zero Challenge Day 4: Set Up a Filter to Remove Unimportant Email

By | 128 comments


Welcome back! How is the challenge so far? We are nearly at the end and we want to check if you were able to:

In case you  missed some days, it’s okay. You still have today and tomorrow to catch up!

Challenge #4: Set up a filter to remove unimportant emails

By now you are well on your way to Escaping Your Email. You’re learning the system and building the muscle needed to process your email with ninja-like efficiency.

You’ve also invested some time protecting your inbox from useless emails through unsubscribing and setting up your rollup.

In today’s challenge, we’re going to take the inbox protection a step further. We will show you how you to reduce the amount of email that needs to be processed by setting up email filters.

How to set up your filters

For Mac users, one of the easiest ways to do this is to set up “smart mailboxes.” These smart mailboxes are a feature that automatically filter your email based on specific rules. In Apple Mail, this is a snap to do:

  • Go to Mailbox –> New Smart Mailbox
  • Name your new Smart Mailbox (i.e. Receipts)
  • Fill out the criteria (i.e. Messages that contain the word “receipt”)

Now whenever an email comes into your inbox, Apple Mail will scan the contents for the word “receipt.” If the word is found, the filter will put the message into your new Smart Mailbox.

Pretty cool, huh?

Setting up filters is going to be a little bit different for each email client, but the basic idea is that you can set up automation that will take specified actions on specific emails that meet the criteria. Even adding one or two basic filters will help you keep your inbox clean and shiny.

To show you how setting up filters looks in Outlook, Apple Mail, and Gmail, here is a sneak peak from the new email course we’re releasing next month. In this video, you will see all the benefits (and limitations) of email filters so you can save hours auto-archiving unimportant emails or reduce the temptation to “just check” your inbox with VIP notification filters.


The Takeaway

Create one email filter in your email client of choice. We have a list of our top 10 filters right hereThe filters will look a little bit different depending on the app, but it’s usually pretty straightforward. Email us at [email protected] if you need any help.

Or…you can have Sanebox do all the hard work for you.

More Email Tips

If you want more tips and hacks for dealing with email, make sure you subscribe for updates on the Escape Your Email. We have an email system that allows you to spend only 30 minutes a day on email. Sign up here and we’ll let you know when it’s available.

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Posted by Diane Kennedy  | September 12, 2016 at 8:25AM | Reply

I’ve been using rules in Outlook for years. I’d like to see some more advanced ideas for this feature. E.g., rules that I might not have thought of, advanced search criteria, etc.

Posted by Barb  | September 9, 2016 at 9:53PM | Reply

Every request from LinkedIn – gone! Hooray!

Posted by Eric  | September 9, 2016 at 2:10AM | Reply


Posted by Access2pam  | September 8, 2016 at 10:54PM | Reply

Filters. Done :-)

Posted by Maria  | September 8, 2016 at 9:48PM | Reply

I have to admit, filters are a new concept to me. At first I felt kind of confused but now I see how I am going to use them. And see my Inbox so much lighter!

Posted by Mary Benson  | September 8, 2016 at 3:04PM | Reply

Truly, SaneBox (or some such utility) is a sanity saver. I agree with the others who say once they set up filters, they never look in those files again!

Posted by Hema  | September 8, 2016 at 2:21PM | Reply

Have sandbox so I am sorted, and a couple of smart email folders on apple mail.

Posted by bookit  | September 8, 2016 at 12:45PM | Reply

I have used Outlook in the past, but my company went to Gmail about a year ago. Sanebox makes email much more friendly. I know the good stuff will be in my inbox. When I have some time between meetings, I go in and sort through @SaneLater folder knowing that most of them are just junk anyway. It is easier to sort junk when it is with other junk, than to try and sort junk when it is mixed in with important emails.

Posted by Peter  | September 8, 2016 at 10:22AM | Reply is only capable to apply rules on incoming messages. I took it a little further with SpamSieve and Mail Act-on to be able to do similar things for outgoing messages as well.

Challenge for today done, see you tomorrow.

Posted by Rachel  | April 2, 2016 at 4:18PM | Reply

I’ve been ill for the last couple of days – and so faced with the lovely task of reviewing 256 emails in my inbox today. Have reviewed a couple of filters I had set up and gone COMPLETELY blind to. I think if it doesn’t come through my inbox, for me it doesn’t exist, so I need to get my head around using filters properly.

Posted by Joe  | April 1, 2016 at 8:47PM | Reply

Fun with filters.

Posted by Matt  | April 1, 2016 at 5:40PM | Reply

Already use Smart Mailboxes for Today Emails and Flagged emails for Follow Up Later emails. Will look into Sanebox. HA! Beat you spellchecker!!!!!

Posted by Jeff  | April 1, 2016 at 5:01PM | Reply

Finished. We’ll see how Sandbox does. So far so good.

Posted by Kim  | April 1, 2016 at 2:15PM | Reply

I have such a bad habit of liking to review all these newsletters. Setting up filters to move them to another inbox I think will let me pretend that I’m ever going to look at them again. Who says grown ups can’t play pretend?

Posted by Erzsebet  | April 1, 2016 at 1:35PM | Reply

I know from where I receive a lot of e-mails that I am interested in but do not want to see them immediately. So I set up filters for them. E-mails from those addresses will land in the right folders and I will decide when to check them… Thanks for this tip, it is also helpful! Done.

Posted by Paul  | April 1, 2016 at 12:44PM | Reply

@Günther: ask “them” to increase your limit.

A couple of years ago, I asked our admins to increase my Exchange server limit (for rule etc), which they did with very little complaint. Even when I went waaaay over the top on rules, I was able to roll my own approximate version of Gmail’s Priority Inbox within a few iterations.

(I think that I’ve been capped again in the meantime, but I needed to “prune the tree” anyway. As simple as possible, a complex as necessary.)

Posted by Robin  | April 1, 2016 at 12:24PM | Reply

Going to set up filters now!!!! THANKS.

Posted by Katherine  | April 1, 2016 at 10:43AM | Reply

I’ll have to look into Sanebox more. I wonder if it works on multiple accounts (like Gmail for personal and Outlook for work) or if I’d have to have two accounts. it’s a great tip! I just don’t know what all I can afford right now. I’ll still definitely look into creating rules to manage things better.

Thanks guys!

Posted by BS  | April 1, 2016 at 10:32AM | Reply

I signed up for a trial with Sanebox, looks quite good. It took me a while to get my different email accounts aligned in a way so that it works easily with Sanebox. But it feels good that my Inbox is now much clearer.

Posted by Frank  | April 1, 2016 at 10:17AM | Reply

Sanebox is a great tip. Thanks.

Posted by Ysabel  | April 1, 2016 at 10:14AM | Reply

Love filters! Added a few this week and will be thinking about adding some new ones in the coming days.

Posted by Marieke  | April 1, 2016 at 9:40AM | Reply


Posted by Jason Shanks  | April 1, 2016 at 9:22AM | Reply

I’m with the camp of favouring trimming down unimportant emails over hiding them away. The more buckets I have the less likely I’ll tend to them.

That said, I dropped all filters years ago that I was using to organise emails and make them easier to find after archiving, when search wasn’t so good. I’m all for a limited number of filters though for emails I’m never *required* to address.

Posted by Gil  | April 1, 2016 at 8:07AM | Reply

I got so excited getting 12,000 plus emails processed I forgot to post

Posted by Janeson  | April 1, 2016 at 7:35AM | Reply

I’ve experimented with email filters for years. I added a few more yesterday. The inbox email filter is almost as useful as caller ID is on the phone.

Posted by Nagesh  | April 1, 2016 at 6:57AM | Reply

Controlling emails on order confirmations, receipts do not pose much of a problem to me though after this tip I have been motivated to use my Email client by setting up filters for things like Linked in etc.

Have been using smart filters on my Personal Inboxes & few select rules on Work Inbox for quite some time now and also do have a good effective folder system going on too.

In fact, my Personal Inboxes are very much well behaved just by setup.

However, using rules, I wouldn’t want important Work Inbox related emails to be missed or get slipped into folders without my immediate notice and the same applies for follow-up emails too. For these I use a separate To Do Folder in addition to the Archives Folder to periodically clear the Inbox.

So I don’t think I can justify to myself about going for Sanebox which would perhaps be not what I need.

Nevertheless, it’s been helpful & awesome knowing the quick fixes, easy tricks & some great ideas for tweaking up things to set up “Smart Mailboxes” and achieve Inbox Management by applying filters !

Posted by Kimi  | April 1, 2016 at 1:11AM | Reply

I had been using and though it helped, I felt I had two places to check: my inbox and, because I could not seem to adjust the settings to where I was comfortable with them. After a very short time on Sanebox, my Inbox was much cleaner, and @SaneLater did not seem to be as full as used to be. It is also quite easy to transfer items back and forth between the two boxes when their importance switches. I am quite happy with Sanebox. For the time it is saving me in dealing with email and the frustration I do not have to endure, I gladly paid for a subscription. [I had tried it because AE recommended it. Thank you!]

Posted by Louise  | April 1, 2016 at 1:09AM | Reply

Thanks for the tips. To me, I think it is important to define the filter concept and regular review so that I feel comfortable and save if some mails are not checked immediately, but maybe useful sometimes.

Posted by Kat S  | April 1, 2016 at 12:57AM | Reply

I already had a bunch of rules set up on my work and two personal accounts, but they could definitely stand to be cleaned up. All three inboxes zeroed out, and reviewing/refreshing rules tomorrow!

Posted by Francesca  | April 1, 2016 at 12:44AM | Reply

Dear AE Friends
Thanks for these great tips.
It is also great to wake up each day and knowing I will find your ideas to be an Asian Efficient knowledge worker.
The comments of the community create the dynamic to GET TO INBOX ZERO and have a clear actio list, as side effect.

Posted by Cathy  | March 31, 2016 at 11:24PM | Reply


Posted by Cathy  | March 31, 2016 at 11:03PM | Reply

I created a new “Smart Mailbox” (in Mac OS X El Capitain Mail / gmail account), following the instructions in the assignment.
However, this does NOT *move* the filtered messages from the inbox to the Smart Mailbox. To move files out of the inbox, you would need to use a *regular* mailbox. (See below.)

Info from Apple support pages:


“A Smart Mailbox displays messages that are stored in other mailboxes and that meet certain criteria you specify. For example, a Smart Mailbox could include all the messages you receive about a specific project, regardless of which mailboxes the messages are stored in.”

“If you change a message in a Smart Mailbox—such as marking the message as read or unread, or moving or deleting the message—the change is reflected in the mailbox where the message is stored.”


You can create mailboxes and move messages to them to help keep your email organized. For example, you could create a Book Club mailbox, with mailboxes inside it for each author or book you read.
Tip: If you want to organize messages without moving them around, use Smart Mailboxes.

Posted by Billy Mansfield  | March 31, 2016 at 10:52PM | Reply

Filters now in place. Going to look into Sane box.

Posted by kate  | March 31, 2016 at 10:47PM | Reply


Posted by Michele Zwillinger  | March 31, 2016 at 10:19PM | Reply

I already use rules in Outlook for things that are not pertinent, that I really only need to read when I am addressing that particular subject (buying movie tickets, deciding what play to see, which restaurant to go to, etc.). I use QuickFIle from Addins4Outlook to file things in folders quickly as I am scanning the emails. From the linked article on filters I can see how I might do my “rules” differently and more effectively. Thanks!

Interesting that now that I am using this system for my emails I am more careful about what becomes a task (e.g., “Read” now goes into the read folder and does not become a task unless it is something that is critical to read now, or by a particular date). So somewhat fewer task in my to do list. I’m scanning the tasks much the same way as the emails to help me prioritize and reschedule them.

Posted by JW  | March 31, 2016 at 9:35PM | Reply

Done! I have a very aggressive inbox filter for my work account. Only mail from my immediate team, my boss, his boss, the CTO, CEO show up in my Inbox. Everything else is either lableled “auto-deleted” and deleted or “auto-archived” and archived. I look at auto-archived mail in my leisure to make sure I am not missing something important, but that is pretty rare.

Posted by sleepydwarf  | March 31, 2016 at 9:14PM | Reply

I have to think about how this might work for me, especially at work where I don’t get too many emails that I can actually ignore for a period of time. I’m thinking Outlook rules would work in a similar way, yes?

Posted by Brandon  | March 31, 2016 at 9:08PM | Reply


Posted by Lisa  | March 31, 2016 at 8:53PM | Reply

I might be doing something wrong, but in when I set up a smart mailbox the mail still stays in my inbox, but a ‘copy’ appears in the smart mailbox. So it seems I still have to go through and manually move those messages out of inbox? I will look into Sanebox which seems like a better solution.

Posted by Morgan  | March 31, 2016 at 8:47PM | Reply

Wish rules could do more… (add @tags in subject line for auto filing in Evernote)

Posted by Divaldo  | March 31, 2016 at 8:41PM | Reply


Posted by Brad Back  | March 31, 2016 at 7:58PM | Reply

Another great post. Trying to add filters tonight.

Posted by Dustin Hartzler  | March 31, 2016 at 7:35PM | Reply

I use Gmail’s filters to make sure that Facebook notifications, Google+ Groups and other non-essential messages go into folders that I check once a week or so.

Posted by Jay  | March 31, 2016 at 6:11PM | Reply

I also use clear context for automatically filing emails into sub folder but the recommendation yesterday and today have made me check the filing I have setup. In addition I have unsubscribe from some more newsletters I don’t read.

Posted by alexander  | March 31, 2016 at 5:42PM | Reply

Filters are awesome especially for notification mail that are mandatory to receive, come in large frequencies and only certain ones are crucial.

As a software engineer I get a lot of emails from our build servers only builds that fail are crucial to get in my inbox all the other ones just get archived and moved to a folder.

Posted by Lisa  | March 31, 2016 at 5:39PM | Reply

Been an avid user of Outlook rules for a long time. Added a few more today to tidy things up more. Thanks!

Posted by April  | March 31, 2016 at 5:20PM | Reply

Thanks for this! Setting up SaneBox now and have set up a couple of filters.

Posted by Nils  | March 31, 2016 at 4:38PM | Reply

Filtering sometimes helps me getting my mails sorted. But I have to admit that I mainly stick to a folder structure with manual sorting after having processed the mail.
May keep an eye on sanebox.

Posted by Stephen  | March 31, 2016 at 3:50PM | Reply

Filters set up and working well.

I can certainly see the appeal of Sandbox, but it’s a non-starter for me due to it needing access to my log-in credentials (as a lawyer, I can’t just allow anyone to access client emails).

I understand that they only read the headers, but technically there is nothing to prevent them from accessing or reading more – just their own internal policies and procedures.

Others in unregulated professions will feel more comfortable with it, and the functionality is very attractive, but it’s not for me.

Posted by Bob DeSilets  | March 31, 2016 at 3:48PM | Reply

I’ve been struggling with rules on O365 since I was migrated over. Some rules won’t work on the server, and have to be run locally, but that means that messages aren’t filtered until my desktop is powered up, and so my phone inbox is a cluttered mess. Sigh. You fight the war in front of you with the equipment you have….

I’ve spent some time today transferring some of my local rules up to the server, so we’ll see how things go overnight.

Posted by Taylor Lawson  | March 31, 2016 at 3:47PM | Reply

I had some Gmail filters, but this post inspired me to re-evaluate and refine them. My inbox should be a lot more orderly!

Posted by Daniel  | March 31, 2016 at 3:43PM | Reply

Honestly, not quite a challenge but the way I configured Outlook years ago. I never had the problem that the number of filters was too small. Maybe the number of inputs is too big, then. Just my two cents. D.

Posted by Anne  | March 31, 2016 at 3:43PM | Reply

My fear is that if they don’t go through my Inbox, I will never get around to checking those other “smart” mailboxes and will miss something important.

Posted by Rick  | March 31, 2016 at 3:39PM | Reply

Already using filters

Posted by Jan  | March 31, 2016 at 3:37PM | Reply

Great filter ideas. I actually have added exception to my cc-filter. If there is an email where I am on cc but it is addressed to my boss or send by my boss and I am on cc it will land in my inbox. So I am aware of any communication to and from my boss… its a bit FOMO – I agree

Posted by Mike Dodson  | March 31, 2016 at 3:34PM | Reply

Great idea for today. I just set up a filter to handle all those pesky box notifications I get. I can ignore most of them but always need to scan for the few cases that are important.

I’ll have to expand on the idea and create more of them.

Posted by mlg  | March 31, 2016 at 3:27PM | Reply

Created smart mailboxes on my Mac. I wish there was a way to add filters on iOS.

Posted by hef920  | March 31, 2016 at 3:04PM | Reply

I already use Sanebox which is why my personal email is not a problem – hence concentrating on my work email for this challenge. I cant use Sanebox at work unfortunately. For those of you thinking about Sanebox – don’t think, just get it. Worth every penny….

Posted by Cecilia  | March 31, 2016 at 3:03PM | Reply

I have put filters in place in one of my work account. In my (private) gmail-account I don’t think I need it, after using

Posted by Jeff  | March 31, 2016 at 2:57PM | Reply


Posted by Lisa Hoekstra  | March 31, 2016 at 2:54PM | Reply

Great tip! I’m sure this will help – I sign up for a lot of newsletters!

Posted by Kim  | March 31, 2016 at 2:49PM | Reply

I forget to use the filters included in email clients. =P This was a good reminder to set mine up again. Thanks for the tip!

Posted by Philipp  | March 31, 2016 at 2:39PM | Reply

I have been using this method for some time now, that is why I really like newsletters beginning with [name], that’s even easier to filter

Posted by Eric  | March 31, 2016 at 2:31PM | Reply

Love Sanebox. Have used it for the past 2 years and it’s amazing how well it sorts out what is important and what’s not. Also nice to get one email at the end of the day where they present all the unimportant emails in one place, so you can blast through them in minutes.

Posted by Gordon L  | March 31, 2016 at 2:31PM | Reply

I feel better about having a receipts filter and account filter now!

Posted by Caroline  | March 31, 2016 at 2:28PM | Reply

I already use filters and rules fairly well. I reviewed what I had and made a few tweaks. Thanks AE!

Posted by Tajinder  | March 31, 2016 at 2:11PM | Reply


Posted by Dan  | March 31, 2016 at 2:02PM | Reply

I guess it’s time to start exploring more filters and cleaning up my old ones… Inbox Zero here I come!

Posted by Curtis  | March 31, 2016 at 1:55PM | Reply

I’ve set up several filters in Postbox and they work fine when I run them manually but they don’t seem to be working automatically…

Posted by JL JAB  | March 31, 2016 at 1:43PM | Reply

I’m using Mailtag and MailActOn to filter my mails.

Posted by Ratana  | March 31, 2016 at 1:38PM | Reply

Day 4, done. I also use Boomerang in my Gmail as a way to remind me to follow up on things (vs. the 3 underscores trick). While I had used filters to highlight certain senders one at a time, I LOVED the trick of bundling them (e.g., putting the e-mails of all your newsletters into one folder). New filters added, and old ones cleaned up! Down to inbox ZERO in my personal e-mail, and just a few in my work inbox! YAY!

Posted by MB  | March 31, 2016 at 1:36PM | Reply

Trying out sanebox…

Posted by Melissa  | March 31, 2016 at 1:35PM | Reply

The idea of filters makes me anxious that I might miss something important. Then again, perhaps I don’t get a big enough flood of email for it to be a problem, either.

Posted by Bob  | March 31, 2016 at 1:35PM | Reply

I love SaneBox. It saves so much time in managing email.

Posted by Gail Packer  | March 31, 2016 at 1:29PM | Reply

I created a smart mailbox called receipts but my receipt from Asian Efficiency did not land in it. How do I set the criteria?

Posted by Toby  | March 31, 2016 at 1:20PM | Reply

It would be great to know what other filters you suggest. I second the idea to do this with gmail, that way the benefit of filtering is on all devices not just a given client such as apple mail.

Posted by K  | March 31, 2016 at 12:54PM | Reply

Adding a few rules is helpful. Added unroll me too. Great.

Posted by Terri  | March 31, 2016 at 12:52PM | Reply

I used to use rules but found it just made me blind to the things that skip my inbox. I am finding that I don’t get as many emails a day as I thought. Now that I’ve unsubbed from newsletters I don’t want or unrolled all of my accounts, it is even more manageable.

Posted by Andrei  | March 31, 2016 at 12:38PM | Reply

Rules for newsletters, bills, receipts created. I also made one to filter some spam that my spam filter keeps missing and this saved a lot of wasted time for me.

Posted by Enwongo Ettang  | March 31, 2016 at 12:32PM | Reply

I use sanebox, I highly recommend it. It has helped me so much with my unimportant emails. This is my 3rd month, and it is worth the money.

Posted by Gizem  | March 31, 2016 at 12:31PM | Reply

I too already have some rules but they are not always working for some reason I have not yet figured out. Motivated by this post, I added a couple more. Getting there…

Posted by Ann Schmitz  | March 31, 2016 at 12:30PM | Reply

I needed help with filters. thanks

Posted by Wilson  | March 31, 2016 at 12:22PM | Reply

I already had filters created in my Outlook, they really worth it.

Posted by Scott  | March 31, 2016 at 12:20PM | Reply

Effective filtering= lower stress

Great tip!

Posted by Michael  | March 31, 2016 at 12:19PM | Reply

I use filters alrady. May try sanebox.

Posted by Amit Taneja  | March 31, 2016 at 12:01PM | Reply

I have tried filters – mostly to move emails from specific senders or to specific email addresses to a certain folder – as a result I missed a few important emails (including some interesting trainings that I wanted to attend) because I was delayed in attending to those folders…and so I stopped using filters. I have found unsubscribing helps me more than using filters.
Now I categorize emails and I parse every email… not read, but scan and I have become faster at deciding what to do with each email (swipe gestures on phone really helps).
I tried Sanebox – but it didn’t reduce the emails for me over the week that I tried it (it is based on some form of pattern recognition and looks like the kind of email that I receive didn’t fit). Also I am not allowed to divert office emails through Sanebox for security reasons. There are several other utilities that I have tried to identifying “Active” emails but none that has worked for me.

I use Boomerang to bring back certain emails to my Inbox on a certain date. Helps me followup at the right time. Is that theme going to be covered under Zero Inbox. In my view there is little the point of getting to Zero Inbox if critical followup is missed at the right time – this is where I struggle the most – creating tasks out of emails and adding notes to each email about what to do next as I do not want to build context each time by reading the email trail. I should read the note and BANG – should realize instantly why that email is sitting in my Inbox. Sometimes I wonder – if I spend so much time in my Inbox, when am I going to get actual work done :-)

Posted by Jonathan Winslow  | March 31, 2016 at 11:52AM | Reply

I use something called Other Inbox – but tried this out too

Posted by Joshua Fritsch  | March 31, 2016 at 11:14AM | Reply

That tip on adding the dashes by your signature to allow for easy searching on follow-ups is fantastic!

Posted by Jeff Grosse  | March 31, 2016 at 11:13AM | Reply

I’ve used literally hundreds of filter rules in Gmail, though it’s good to occasionally whittle them down as there are newer practices you can do such as have been mentioned here before. Stuff like unsubscribing instead of just moving them around.

Posted by Árpád  | March 31, 2016 at 10:49AM | Reply

I used that feature also before, but it was a good reason to revise the list again.

Posted by Christopher  | March 31, 2016 at 10:47AM | Reply

implemented, inbox uncluttered

Posted by Michael Peay  | March 31, 2016 at 10:32AM | Reply

This is where I really wished Mail on iOS had synced filters and rules. I’ve been using Spark for iOS by Readdle which does have this saved search (smart folder) functionality but that is independent from on OS X.

These have all be good tips and making you think how you work with email is reason enough to be going through the challenge.

Posted by Anne W  | March 31, 2016 at 10:26AM | Reply

This tip is a bit more difficult for me since I have separate personal and business emails. I’m not worried about inbox zero with my personal email – maybe I should be, but I have ZERO stress about it. I will study my incoming email and processing habits to find opportunities to use filters. Same comment I had on yesterday’s tip – trusting myself and my system is crucial (but difficult) to ensure that I have a reliable routine for what is filtered.

Posted by Stewart  | March 31, 2016 at 10:23AM | Reply

I already have a number of rules on my personal Office 365 account which catch emails from a couple of medium volume mailing lists. The Clutter feature works reasonably well but it can be a bit hit and miss sometimes.

I use Outlook 2016 on both Windows and Mac and, for the low-volume moves, the folder move history list in the toolbar is enough for the very infrequent mails that do not warrant a dedicated rule.

Still at Inbox Zero at work and three emails in my personal Inbox, which I am currently dealing with.

I had a look at SaneBox and, while it looks like a decent product for those that receive a high number of emails daily/weekly, I couldn’t justify the recurring subscription cost for myself.

Posted by Debbie Rosemont  | March 31, 2016 at 10:22AM | Reply

Done. Love rules and filters!

Posted by Michael  | March 31, 2016 at 10:22AM | Reply

Set up a filter for things like LinkedIn. Somewhat reluctant to use Sanebox because it needs access to my IMAP account.

Posted by Michael Setnicky  | March 31, 2016 at 10:03AM | Reply


Posted by Bonnie  | March 31, 2016 at 10:03AM | Reply

Thanks to a poster yesterday, I got Spam Sieve which already does some major filtering. I already use some filters for some Yahoo Groups which is very helpful, I know where these emails are and I only need to see them when I want to. Unfortunately my main email account is with which is POP, so Sanebox is not an option.

Posted by Jaime  | March 31, 2016 at 9:55AM | Reply

Done! Great idea regarding the follow up “tag” ___

Posted by Marcus  | March 31, 2016 at 9:47AM | Reply

helpful so far

Posted by Elaine  | March 31, 2016 at 9:46AM | Reply

I have filters in my Gmail account. My problem is that I have too many filters — and too many folders. Most of my filters were set up to a specific email account. So I need to read your link and set more global filters.

I think Sanebox is more than I need, and more than want to spend. However, I’m sure that there are alternatives that would be a better fit. I’ve added a ToDo to do some research.

Thanks for all the great ideas today!

Posted by Bruce Farley  | March 31, 2016 at 9:45AM | Reply

Have never used mailbox rules that much at all until TODAY! Already established several Smart Mailboxes–and am seeing results….thanks!

Posted by Louise  | March 31, 2016 at 9:45AM | Reply

It seems like I don’t really need filters at the moment (I already have a folder system that works well), but I’ll keep this in mind for future benefit. :)

Posted by Aaron M  | March 31, 2016 at 9:39AM | Reply

Done- Signed up for free trail. I keep putting off checking Sandbox out, but this seemed like a good time to just try it.

Posted by Mike  | March 31, 2016 at 9:34AM | Reply

Filters work great for sending newsletters directly to Evernote

Posted by James  | March 31, 2016 at 9:33AM | Reply

I think SaneBox is going to be great – a service I hadn’t heard of before – very excited to try it out.

Posted by Raoul  | March 31, 2016 at 9:31AM | Reply

Started using Gmail filters. Will try sanebox and see if it works for me

Posted by Heather  | March 31, 2016 at 9:06AM | Reply

I was able to set up one filter/rule that puts our company newsletters into a “Read when have time” folder

Posted by Eva  | March 31, 2016 at 9:01AM | Reply

I got zero inbox with my main account :)
I keep Sanebox in mind, for the moment a couple of rules will do though. My main insights so far:
(1) Use “delete”
(2) TiO – and triage.
So I began to implement OF (for tasks) and Evernote (for resources) into my workflow in my work with emails on OS X and iOS. Rather then setting up new folders in my emails client – I started to delete one by one – I am optimizing filing structures and ways for triage in Evernote and OF. So, inbox zero grows into some system overhaul – like it :D

Posted by Tracy  | March 31, 2016 at 8:59AM | Reply

Great filter ideas. Thanks.

Posted by Dale  | March 31, 2016 at 8:55AM | Reply

I have set up a couple of filters.

Posted by copper  | March 31, 2016 at 8:52AM | Reply

I’m also a fan of MailActOn which @Peter mentioned. Used in conjunction with InDev’s MailTags you can quickly tag mail that might not meet your rule formula (such as when you get an “invoice” or “purchase” instead of a “receipt”) and then include your tag of choice in the smart mailbox criteria.

Posted by Nicole  | March 31, 2016 at 8:50AM | Reply

Rules implemented

Posted by Phil  | March 31, 2016 at 8:43AM | Reply

This one’s a stumper. I have a good folder system going, so setting up another to send filtered ideas to isn’t going to work for me, and I’m not sure I’m prepared to invest in sanebox – though it has some tempting features. Haven’t moved on this one yet.

Posted by Peter  | March 31, 2016 at 8:40AM | Reply

To cope with the fact that rules in Apple’s only apply to incoming messages I installed Mail Act-on by Indev. Very powerful for rules for incoming and outgoing messages.

Filters are definitely a huge time saver for email.

Posted by Robert Duffy  | March 31, 2016 at 8:34AM | Reply

Already have smart filters set up….will look at Sanebox to see if its worth the investment

Posted by Neil MacLennan  | March 31, 2016 at 8:33AM | Reply

Am already a Sanebox customer — well worth the money!

Posted by Mary Benson  | March 31, 2016 at 8:32AM | Reply

I also am a SaneBox subscriber. While it helps, the tips to archive everything over 30 days old, and to archive regularly, and stop using my Inbox as a to-do list, were extremely helpful. I realized I also use my voicemail as a to-do list, and am working to stop that, as well.

Posted by Mark  | March 31, 2016 at 8:29AM | Reply

Filters implemented!

Posted by Caroly  | March 31, 2016 at 8:22AM | Reply

I was having a hard time thinking about what I could possibly filter, probably because receipts and order confirmations don’t register with me…just get archived or filed on brain-autopilot. Thanks for showing me some easy fixes!

Posted by Bill  | March 31, 2016 at 8:22AM | Reply

SaneBox is a real timesaver, combined with GTD principles and additional email filters, my inbox is less of a jungle, and more of a garden.

Posted by Katherine  | March 31, 2016 at 8:21AM | Reply

I have my inbox to zero on one of my accounts. I do use filters already so today I’ll go through some of those folders and trash some things. The first time my inbox went to zero, I almost had a panic attack. I think I’m addicted to processing email!

Posted by PG  | March 31, 2016 at 8:20AM | Reply

Glad to hear you guys like Sanebox too. I just fell into it and love it so far.

Posted by Brovaktaren  | March 31, 2016 at 8:19AM | Reply

Got the SaneBox tip from an AE post (or pod) about a year ago. It has worked magic since then. For me it has totally been worth the money and I recently renewed.

Posted by Sergei Kolobov  | March 31, 2016 at 8:19AM | Reply

Gmail’s Smartlabels (look under Settings -> Labs) work wonders for me – I’m using that feature for several years and my inbox stays clean, while all Social / Promotions / Updates emails are filed under appropriate categories automatically. Personally, I only checked Updates daily, while other categories weekly or even less frequent.

Posted by Hans  | March 31, 2016 at 8:14AM | Reply

I have used Sanebox for nearly 3 years now and it is brillaint. Twice a day I triage non important emails and that process takes less than a few minutes and covers 10s of emails. Worth the money (for me).

Posted by Finn  | March 31, 2016 at 8:10AM | Reply

I use Gmail filters and they’ve worked well for me for years. Will check out sanebox for my work email though.

Posted by Günther Wasser  | March 31, 2016 at 7:44AM | Reply

Outlook 2010 has limits on the amount of rules you can create and that are running on a corporate exchange server. In my private GMAIL I don’t have this limits and my inbox is normally relative clean. Necessary newsletters get appropriate tags and moved out of the main inbox.

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