Rules are not always for breaking!

Happy Friday and thanks for reading.  Last week I looked at the way you can sort the emails coming into your inbox so that you can can quickly clear away the distractions and focus on the really important tasks. Hopefully you are now looking at the contents of your inbox in a different light.

This week I want to share a few more tips to help automate the sorting to save you from doing it yourself.  Almost all email systems will allow you to set rules and filters so that you don’t have to sort things yourself.  Instead of getting all your ‘To Read Later’ emails in your inbox they will automatically be moved into the ‘To Read Later’ folder and you will be able to deal with them at the right time for you.

Set up Rules!

Both email clients (programmes you have on your computer like Outlook, Mail (for Macs), Sparrow, Thunderbird) or webmail (, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL). There are slightly different ways of setting these up but the principle is the same. I have given step by step instructions for Outlook and Gmail but the other packages will have instructions in their help folders to make it easy to get things sorted for you. Sorry that the images are a little blurry but if you click on them they should become clearer.


  1. Right click on the email you would like to automatically move to a different folder.
  2. Choose Rules
  3. Choose Create RulesOutlookrules
  4. The menu will show you the many options selecting the email type – you can use rule of email address, words contained in the subject, who they were sent to. Then select the action you would like to take, in this instance move the email to the folder Action.Outlookrules2
  5. Ta-da! From now on all the emails from Adam Hempenstall will go to my Action folder.


  1. Go to your Gmail account in your browser, this won’t work on a phone.
  2. Find an email that you would like to set up the rule for. Note: Gmail calls the rules Filters
  3. Go to the More menu at the top of the email and select ‘Filter messages like these’Gmail menu selection
  4. Check the that conditions are correct. The email address should be the one that you want to automatically move. Click ‘Create filter with this search’Gmail menu
  5. THIS BIT IS IMPORTANT! Select both ‘Skip Inbox (Archive) and add label and the label you want added. Click ‘Create filter’. If you want to use the filter to move emails that aren’t currently filed according to the rule then tick the little box next to ‘Also apply to x matching messages’Gmail Rules 3
  6. Bingo! Emails will now go straight to the folder you specified.
  7. Note with Gmail you can select multiple emails from different people at the same time to create the filter for so go and put rules on all your ‘read it later’ emails now!

I hope you found that helpful… one more step in the right direction towards email happiness!

Have a lovely weekend,


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