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Gmail Tools: How to Increase Gmail Productivity

What could be worse than having a major project due in an hour but that last detail you need is lost within the vortex that is your inbox? 

Luckily, there are some ingenious Gmail productivity hacks that will turn you from a catastrophic mess into a whirlwind of efficiency and production. What are you waiting for? Read on to get your inbox back in order!

Tricks for Achieving Gmail Productivity

Act

One way to ensure you remain productive is to act on your email pile-up whenever you find you have free time. A good rule of thumb is to do anything that will take less than 2 minutes.

If you suspect a task will take longer, put it off for a time when you are more available or less bogged down. And if the task is extremely important, create a digital folder where you can keep track of, and manage these tasks. If you find you have emails that are not needed or unwanted, take the 5 seconds to delete it.

Whatever you do, do not let your inbox become a filing cabinet of “to dos.” Procrastination is not going to benefit your productivity levels, no matter what email system you are using.

Priority Inbox

The priority inbox feature is a simple and efficient way to enhance your Gmail productivity and fix your inbox clutter problems. With the priority inbox setting, you are able to sort your emails according to certain priorities.

Priorities include: 

  • Important and Unread Messages
  • Starred Messages
  • Everything Else

To enable this feature, go to settings and click on the inbox tab. From there, set the inbox type as “priority inbox,” and you’ll be on your way!

Rules to Organize and Prioritize

If you are anything like us, you have signed for a million different sites. Of course, these sites and applications are supposed to help you become productive, but when you have so many, they only clog your inbox.  

Take control of your Gmail productivity; try setting automated rules to declutter and organize your inbox. These automated rules are capable of doing nearly anything. 

We’ve found that the most beneficial roles are those that will automatically organize your emails into folders. This method allows you to have easy access to the important emails you need to read and respond to immediately.

The other emails, those deemed to be less important, are still kept. They are just rearranged into folders, putting them out of the way until you are available to sort through them!

Creating a Rule to Filter Messages: Simply open the email and select more. Choose the option “filter messages like these,” and follow the remaining steps! 

Turn Back Time

Have you ever sent the wrong message to someone? If you haven’t, trust us on this: It can be incredibly embarrassing. To save users from this humiliation, or from further humiliation, the creators of Gmail ingeniously included an “undo send” setting.

With this setting, you can cancel an email within either 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds, depending on the settings you chose. 

To turn it on, go to settings. Under the general tab, make sure the “enable undo send” box is marked. Be sure you save your changes! To use it, simply click the “undo” option that will appear under the search bar after you send your message.

The Canned Response

Another trick to enhance your Gmail productivity is to turn on canned responses. By turning on canned responses, you will save time reusing common email templates with a mere right-click of the mouse. 

To turn on: Go to your settings. Click the “Labs” tab. Search for “Canned” in the search bar. Select “Enable.” 

After turning the canned responses on, you will need to compose a general message or template. These can be anything you would use to reply to emails that warrant the same, or similar, responses.

Once the message is complete, locate the arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the message window and click it. Choose “canned responses.” Select “new canned response,” name the template, and click OK. 

Now, your template or response is complete. Anytime you receive an email that can you can respond to using the template/response, hit reply. Follow the steps to create the response. Then, under “insert,” choose the response you wish to send!

Another great thing about this feature is that it can be used to send automatic replies. Simply add email filters to your Gmail account and you will have replies being sent automatically– no thought or action needed!

Sorting Options

There are different options to sort your emails. The default and the most used option is sorting chronologically. But, a better method for you could be sorting emails by the sender or subject.

Make sure you explore all options at your disposal– you never know which would work best!

Go Mobile

You need to be able to move at the speed of business. With the Gmail inbox app on your phone, you can move with your business.  No matter what you are doing, you can always be informed.

The mobile app gives you access to the various features of Gmail, just right from your phone. That includes the undo send setting!

Plus, with the Gmail mobile app, you can ignore, delete, and archive batches of email you deem to be unimportant– Just in case you haven’t gotten around to some of the other tools mentioned in this post that will enhance your Gmail productivity!

Double Tab it!

Having two tabs open to your Gmail account is an efficient way to compose your emails. I mean, honestly, how many times have you had to close a draft to dig up some information you forgot? Next time, just have two tabs open to your Gmail account!

This tip may sound strange but it helps tremendously. Another thing to look into is making the compose window a full-screen. By doing this, you will help yourself see everything you have written without needing to scroll or navigate the window.

(Not-So) Secret Identity

Another nifty Gmail productivity tip is to create an alias email address. 

How? Simply add a “+” or a “.” to your existing email address. 

These are especially helpful when you set up filters. By setting a filter for the email alias, Gmail will automatically add the label of your choice to the email, or deliver it to a specific folder. 

Still confused? If Indiana Jones’ email was indianajones@gmail.com and he wanted to sort his emails he could.

By adding “professor” to the beginning of his email, he could create a rule dictating all emails to professor.indianajones@gmail.com would be sent to a “Students” folder. Meanwhile, anything sent to his regular email address would be distinguished as either hate mail from an enemy he thwarted or a new mission.

Reverse It

Another technique to manage the chaos that is your inbox is to try reading your emails in reverse chronological order. By doing this, you allow yourself to process all the important information while skimming anything irrelevant.

This process is especially helpful if you go away on vacation and come back to an overflowing inbox. By reading in reverse chronological order, you are reorienting yourself, catching yourself up, and saving the most time for the more relevant and recent emails.

Formatting Made Simple

If you frequently copy and paste things from the internet, you know the frustration that comes with formatting. And changing the formatting you brought into the email can not only be a hassle but time-consuming. 

Increase your Gmail productivity by ensuring that you never need to worry about format issues again. Simply find the tool hiding in the format toolbar at the bottom of the email window. 

Boundaries

We have all been in a situation where we are hacking away at the seemingly endless amount of emails in the inbox only to look at the clock and find hours have passed. Unfortunately, it’s a very easy thing to do. 

To avoid wasting your time with emails, try setting boundaries for yourself. A few things you should decide include:

  • What times you are to look at your email
  • How often you can look at your email
  • Whether or not you should reply to an email

Don’t let yourself waste valuable time sorting through emails– remain productive by adhering to the boundaries you set for yourself.

And if those hacks aren’t enough, there are some great applications that you can install to help your Gmail productivity. Read on for a short list of free, helpful applications!

Applications to Enhance Gmail Productivity 

Unroll.me

No one is a fan of spam messages, but, luckily, there is unroll.me. This application helps you cut down on the volume of emails going to your inbox by helping you unsubscribe to spam.

To do so, the application will show you a complete list of subscription emails in your inbox. From there, you are able to easily unsubscribe from any emails you no longer want!

ActiveInbox

This app allows you to turn your not-so-productive vortex of shame into a miraculous Gmail productivity hub!  

The application comes with various tools such as: 

  • Reminders and due dates for your emails: These allow you to tuck your emails away, decluttering your inbox. Plus, you can still rest assured that you won’t forget to complete a task. As soon as the due date rolls around, your email will reappear as a reminder!
  • Follow-up reminders: Following up with someone can get you those important answers you need sooner. Plus, the reminder will ensure you don’t forget about something until it’s too late!
  • Send later functions: Compose your email and set it to send whenever you need. 
  • Subtasks and notes: Sub tasks solve the tiresome problems that come with long email conversations. You will never again need to reread a conversation, just set a sub-task that gives you the general idea and important information and you’re good to go!
  • Subject edits: Usually, it is impossible to change the subject lines of emails you receive. But with ActiveInbox, you have the power to decide the subject lines of your emails allowing for even more Gmail productivity!

Be sure to turn off your priority inbox if you decide to use this application. Using both options will only clutter your inbox again.

Master the Language

English is not a simple language, so it’s pretty likely that you have sent out an email containing improper grammar or spelling errors. It’s not too productive to send out a second email, apologizing for the errors made. 

Stop shying away from recipients in shame and embarrassment by mastering the English language! Or, rather get an app that is a master of the language and can do all of the double, triple, and quadruple checking on spelling and grammar for you.

Grammarly is an amazing tool that will help you to compose flawless emails the first time. Just install the application to Google Chrome and enable the extension!

Gmail Snooze

Now, this may seem arbitrary, but if you are anything like us, you are constantly forgetting to do things. With Gmail Snooze, you can pause an email even after it is opened!

Then, after the allotted time is up, you will get a reminder about the email so you can follow-up. Gmail productivity boost for never forgetting to complete something important!

Wonderland

Have you ever been stuck wondering if your message was opened? Wondering if you are being ignored or were forgotten? We all have felt this way over a text message, but are you willing to admit you have felt it over an email? 

Now, you don’t need to worry about admitting anything– the mystery is solved with Signals. This application will show you when and how often the email is opened, as well as telling you if any links included were clicked.

Get Productive!

Can you imagine the time you would get back if you used just a fraction of these tools? Your Gmail productivity would be through the roof; you would be the envy of the 1 billion people taking advantage Gmail. 

So what are you waiting for? Take your Gmail productivity back and get the simple organization you deserve.

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