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I have a Gmail account which I use for both work and personal stuff, but my work started piling up lately in my account and it's hard for me to take time off in the weekends or nights if I see email marked as work.

What's the best way to approach this without changing my email address? Should I create a secondary account just for work to use exclusively on my work machine and have the main account forward and archive? Will I then be able to reply to those emails and keep the same email address as the main one?

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  • Have you tried playing with labels and filters? Perhaps a Work label that's not always in view?
    – fideli
    Oct 17, 2010 at 1:26

4 Answers 4

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Using filters you can redirect incoming mail. Take a look at Settings > Labs. You can setup multiple Inboxes and hierarchy of labels.

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And if you'd like to only slightly alter your email address, Gmail supports using +-appended email addresses. For example, you're currently using [email protected], but now you start using [email protected] for all your work activities. Now you have a really easy way to filter work emails and use the suggestions already made.

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  • Although the [email protected] solution looks perfect, in practice it's hard to get people to follow it. Many people understand that the +work bit is optional, so they leave it off. (I'd also back up what others said about making work stuff skip the inbox. You do lose some functionality there, though. Notably, once something has "skipped the inbox", you can't then "archive" it—because it's already "archived". It's quite annoying if you're used to using "archive" to mean "I've read and dealt with this email now".) Nov 26, 2010 at 3:51
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You could set up a second Gmail account and use multiple sign-in to easily switch back and forth between the two gmail accounts. Note: Last time I checked, you could not mix a Google Apps account with a regular Google account.

Once you've enabled multiple sign-in, you will have a dropdown next to your email address near the upper right corner of the screen. Simply click it to switch to the other account's mailbox.

You can set up filtering rules as mentioned by @fseto and @Penang to forward the mail to the new mailbox and delete it from the personal box and/or start to "retrain" your work correspondents to use your new address.

This gives you the cleanest separation for the long term.

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  • I've always tried to be pretty meticulous about keeping work and personal emails separate; it leaves me in complete control of which mode I'm in at any point.
    – TomG
    Oct 23, 2010 at 2:54
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If you have some condition for Gmail to determine whether a message is "work" or not, you can create a filter.

Do this:

Skip Inbox, Apply label "work", Never send it to Spam

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