Organize emails using Fastmail's Rules & Filters

June 21, 2020

HEY is currently hyped on twitter for their workflows. I didn’t try their email service, but it inspired me to further automate my workflow.

In this blog post I describe my current workflow to organize my private emails using labels, rules and filters with Fastmail.

Fastmail sidebar

Unimportant mails are processed with rules

Inspired from HEY, I use rules to automatically move emails out of my inbox (i.e. remove the inbox label) that don’t need my immediate attention. I use rules to apply the labels The Feed and The Paper Trail, so I can find these emails when I have the time to read them.

  • The Feed: non-urgent email like newsletters that you read occasionally
  • The Paper Trail: things like receipts that you rarely need to read

Fastmails rules are powerful yet easy to use: a new rule can easily be created from a message.

add rule from message

Organize the important mails

After the unimportant emails are automatically moved, the more important emails remain in the inbox. To organize the inbox, I assign one of the following labels and remove the inbox label.

  • Needs Action, Reply: for tasks or replies that I can’t finish immediately
  • Set Aside: Emails I need to reference later like Tickets, Bookings, Travel Info, etc.

With this workflow I usually have an empty inbox.

Awaiting reply

After sending an e-mail I assign the Awaiting reply label to keep track of outstanding answers.

More to explore

FastMail’s snooze sounds like an interesting feature, but I’m not sure how to integrate it into my workflow.