Learning to Love Labels

Things aren’t perfect unless they’re organized. I thrive on knowing where everything is, and everything being in place. I have to know what is going on at all times, and become depressed for the rest of the day when things don’t go as originally planned.

It can be pretty damn annoying.

Especially when I don’t have time to sit down and get things organized. This was especially true of my e-mail. I don’t think I’ve ever had a real method of organizing my personal e-mail, and certainly not while I’ve been using GMail. In fact, my use of GMail sort of happened by accident. I started using it as a secondary e-mail, as I still wasn’t fond of the idea of web-based e-mail. Mostly because I had been scarred for life from the awfulness of Yahoo Mail and Hotmail. Needless to say, though, I came to see the light.

One thing I had never dabbled in much, though, was labels. I definitely understood their usefulness: instead of delegating one e-mail to one folder, tagging allows you to effectively put one e-mail in multiple folders, for different purposes. But, I never had time to sit down and create some useful labels — or create filters to automatically file them away as they are delivered. Plus, labels were only a very basic feature at first. Now, though, they’ve become pretty nice.

I’m not done configuring it yet, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is my current layout:

I think what I like most are the different colors you can assign to your labels to make them stand out. I’m especially loving the ING color scheme, since those colors match the colors of my debit card, and so are easily recognizable to me.

I also enabled the “Super Stars” Google Labs feature so that I can mark certain messages with a special star icon, for more meaning. Unfortunately, since this is a Labs feature, it isn’t tightly integrated into the rest of the interface. So, I can’t choose a specific star to assign automatically. But that’s not too big of a deal.

Overall, this is helping me get a lot more organized, and that makes me happy.

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