I like to keep my gmail inbox clean. Separating email into multiple tabs greatly helps with this. Keeping the inbox clean is a best way to avoid re-reading (or just re-scanning email headers) over and over again. There are also other features that can help us with processing emails:
- Use ‘Archive’ button whenever you’re done with a email. The email will be still there is you ever need to search for it (so your fear of loosing email is unfounded). Just ‘Archive’ it. Really.
- Use filters
- Periodically go through no longer wanted subscriptions and unsubscribe from them
- Clean unnecessary messages in bulk, e.g in the search box type “older_than:1y type: is:unread” -> “select all threads that match criteria” -> delete