2 Easy Ways to Manage Multiple Email Accounts

The human race uses too many email systems. Get-it-Done Guy helps you handle all your email in one place, even if you have multiple accounts.
Stever Robbins
8-minute read
Episode #529

Today’s topic is how to deal with multiple email inboxes. Listener Jodie Kirby, the recruiting yogini, writes in:

I’m struggling! I’m a consultant managing multiple Google and Office 365 accounts. I’m making it work and yet there’s gotta be an elegant solution. Help! - Namaste

Jodie, when you want elegance, the place to turn is, of course, England. Because they have such delightful accents and castles. And the Buckingham Palace guards. 

Fortunately, we’re in luck! Grandma Cuddles’ Day Care center is welcoming Claire, their newest employee. She’s come over from England, where she claims she was a landscape architect. She was known for designing parks and charming little lanes in the English countryside. Whether it’s a riverbank that resists global warming, or an innocent little park that corrals zombies into dead-end paths and...neutralizes them, Claire is up to any challenge. 

Best of all, Claire just loves little children! 

Claire: I do! Especially with chocolate sauce. That’s how I got my nickname, Chocolatey Claire.

Oh, my! Chocolatey Claire has quite a sense of humor! She’s coming on board to be Director of Procurement. 

Claire: I’m looking forward to the job. It’s right up my alley. Literally. The Pied Piper of Cuddles is how I like to think of it.

Cuddles plans to have Claire design a pleasant garden for the kids to play in. It will, of course, be bordered by Audrey IIs, so the little tykes don’t accidentally wander astray. And if one does, there won’t be any evidence. 

Claire: Audrey IIs are an attractive-yet-functional addition to any landscape.

Email Accounts Propagate

Claire’s first task is to get all her tech set up. She’s at the center of a vast web of communication. Her work on global warming happens at claire@dontfrytheworld.com. Her private clients email her as claire@shrubberythatslays.com, and of course, she’s now claire@grandmacuddles.com as well. It’s a mess! Every day she has to remember to check three email accounts, and things fall through the cracks on a regular basis.

You can use several different clients with one server. If you have email that comes in to a Gmail account, you could read and reply from that same account in Gmail, from Apple Mail, or from Outlook.

The human race uses many email systems. Too many. They have different capabilities and don’t necessarily all play nice with each other. We’re going to get Claire sorted by using one of two solutions that should work for all email systems.

The program you run to read your email is called your "email client." Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, Outlook.com, and Gmail are all email clients. Your actual email comes in to a central email server and your email client fetches it from the server, displays it, and lets you send outgoing email.

You can use several different clients with one server. If you have email that comes in to a Gmail account, you could read and reply from that same account in Gmail, from Apple Mail, or from Outlook. Messages you move, read, delete, or reply to in one client will show up with those same changes when you access the account on another client.

Method One: Check Many Inboxes

Most email clients can check multiple email addresses. Then you choose which inbox you want to view. When you respond to a message in a particular inbox, that’s the address your message comes from. 

Claire can configure Apple Mail to check all three of her accounts. When claire@shrubberythatslays.com gets a message from her supplier, saying that her 6-foot-tall experimental Venus Flytraps have come in, it shows up in her ShrubberyThatSlays inbox in Apple Mail. When she clicks Reply, the reply comes from claire@shrubberythatslays.com

When she gets a message to claire@dontfrytheworld.com, that’s a separate inbox, and her replies come from that email address.

When Claire is saving the world, she goes to her dontfrytheworld.com inbox. When she’s procuring new young recruits for Grandma Cuddles, she goes to her grandmacuddles.com inbox. When she’s planting a hillside that can swallow human traffickers in a single gulp (really several gulps. Her Venus Flytraps aren’t that big), she goes to her shrubberythatslays.com inbox.

She can also go to All Inboxes and see a view that has all the messages from all of her inboxes. When she opens and responds to a message, her response comes from the address of that message’s inbox.

Each email client sets up multiple inboxes differently

To find out how your email client can handle multiple accounts, Google "multiple email accounts in …" and the name of the program you use to read email. For example, "multiple email accounts in outlook" or "multiple email accounts in gmail." At the end of this episode, I’ll quickly run through how to set up multiple email accounts in Gmail, Apple Mail, and iOS. 

Microsoft Outlook is a horror show. There are a dozen versions, many platforms, and all of them are different. Consult your help file to find out how to set up your particular version. You may have to set up multiple “profiles,” each of which corresponds to a single email account. When you start Outlook, you choose which profile you want to use, and everything you do during that session relates solely to the profile you chose.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.