Optimizing your inbox is one of the best productivity wins and life hacks.
For many business owners and entrepreneurs, the inbox is a logjam of requests, newsletters, high-priority fires, low-priority requests, and more distractions.
If you optimize your inbox, you can drastically cut down on your time spent reacting each day — and more time proactively growing your business and doing thing you actually enjoy.
Recently, I found a new, more effective way to optimize my inbox. What’s interesting is, I haven’t seen this idea shared publicly — but I know of a 8-figure CEO who uses it privately.
The end result is a cleaner, more organized automatic sorting process.
I’m calling the strategy the Catch-All Coordination.
This trick requires you to have your own domain. You don’t need a website, just a domain to receive email. If you need a domain, the most inexpensive solution online is Cloudfare. Google Domains is also a good option.
Here’s the five-step strategy:
- Create one domain email address. During the signup process for your webhost, this might have been done for you. If not, and you need to create an email address, go to your CPanel webhost backend. Then select “Email Accounts” and create your email address. I like to set my email address to 3 GB of space so I don’t run out of storage.
- Set up your domain forwarding to your personal Gmail. I set up my dmkthinks.org email to forward to my personal Gmail. This keeps all my emails centralized in one place. To forward, log onto your web host CPanel. Then, click on “Forwarders” under the Email area.
Finally, set up your main domain email address that you set up in step #1 to forward to your personal Gmail.
- Enable the catch-all for all your domain. Enabling a catch-all for your domain means that all emails sent to your domain, including emails that don’t have an email address that exists, will still deliver. For example, if someone sends you an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, it’ll still be forwarded. This is valuable because you can use whatever email address you want when signing up for apps online, meetups, newsletters, or anything else.
To set up the catch-all, click on “Default Address” under the Email area in your CPanel.
This is where you can configure unrouted email to forward. I forward the unrouted email to my single domain email address set up in step #1, which then forwards to my personal Gmail. You could forward it directly to Gmail, but I like to send everything through my domain first for easier organization and keeping everything easy to remember and clean.
To get the forwarding working, select the “Forward to Email Address” option, and put in your domain email address.
- Pick a reply email address based on your domain. Now that all your domain email is going to your one domain account, and then that gets forwarded into your personal Gmail, you can set up a reply-to in Gmail. This is useful if you want to reply to any email using your domain email address.
This can be done by going into your Gmail settings, then clicking “Accounts and Import”, and then “Add another email address”.
I recommend you add the domain email address you configured in step #1 above.
- Create filters and labels in Gmail. This is my favorite part of the Catch-All Coordination! Using filters and labels in Gmail allows you to more easily organize your inbox. You can have emails skip the inbox, get mark as read, or otherwise stay out of your view.
To set up filters in Gmail, go to your Gmail settings and then click “Filters and Blocked Addresses”. In that view, you can add different filters depending on which emails you receive. Here are some that I use:
receipts at my domain = mark as receipts label
travel at my domain = mark as travel label
health at my domain = mark as health label and newsletter label
There’s no limit to the amount of email addresses you can use, and the filters you can have. You can get get as granular as you want!
On top of the specific labels, I also mark anything being sent to *dmkthinks.org with the label dmkthinks.
- Enter Catch-All email addresses on different sites. Another benefit to the Catch-All Coordination is you don’t have to give out your “real” email address all the time. Similar to how some credit cards allow you to create temporary sub-credit cards for one-time use on certain sites, you can use catch-all email addresses to separate out your inbox.
For example, on Amazon you could use email@example.com. Or, for all receipts you could use firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, anything you want!
I hope this Catch-All Coordination helps you better manage your inbox and feel less stressed.
Question of the day: How do you manage your inbox?