16 Gmail Features That Will Boost Your Productivity
I live and die by Google.
My blog post editorial calendar, Twitter, and Facebook editorial calendars are in google calendar. All of my (5) email addresses are with Gmail. My business is almost entirely stored on Google Drive. The only browser I ever use is Google Chrome.
You guys, I get panicky when I don’t have Google in my life.
Using Google products and services for so long has taught me some – 16 – really cool tips and tricks that I thought I would share with you today. These Gmail features help me work more efficiently as a blogger, small business owner, and even as a mom.
These tricks have saved me hundreds of hours over the last 2 years, saved me tons of stress, and have even saved me money, so check them out, give them a try, and let me know what you think!
The Unsubscribe Hack
Gmail makes it incredibly easy to unsubscribe from promotional emails, but most people don’t even know how easy it is.
There is an “unsubscribe” email next to the sender’s address is all of your emails in the Promotions tab. One click and you can unsubscribe – you don’t even have to open the email.
There are usually a few newsletters that slip through the unsubscribe feature, and for those you can simply type “unsubscribe” into the search box and the results will list every single newsletter, daily deal, and email notification you’ve ever signed up for.
Using the one-click unsubscribe feature in conjunction with Gmail’s “Select All” can save you hours, just make sure to “select all conversations that match this search” rather than the plain old “select all.”
Reply All Default
Have a lot of group emails in your inbox? I’ve been there, and I hated it for a while because it was an extra click to “Reply All.”
Well, I found a solution for that madness, because you can actually set your reply to default to “reply all” rather than “reply.”
In Settings, under the General Tab, scroll to Reply Behavior, and switch to “Reply All.” Time is money, people.
CTRL + Click
Another frustration I had with Gmail – and really any email provider – was that you had to check the little individual boxes next to the emails in order to delete more than one.
Then, if you messed up and missed one box, all of your hard work was gone, gone, gone….
Well, with Gmail you can certainly check the little boxes besides the email subject lines, but you can also hold down “Control” and click on individual messages to select them. Then, choose delete from the dropdowns at the bottom or top of the screen. Easy -Peasy.
The Gmail search box is pretty handy, but did you know that you can be even more specific in your search with a few extra commands?
- “OR” – finds messages matching more than one keyword. For example, from: Gretchen OR from: Amy
- “filename” – finds specific types of files. For example, filename: jpg.
- “after” or “before” – finds messages sent before a certain time period or after
- “has:attachment” – allows you to search for messages with an attachment. For example, from:David has:attachment
- “in:anywhere” – search for messages anywhere in Gmail, because messages in spam and trash are excluded from search by default. For example, in:anywhere movie
- Find a complete list here
I have 5 different Gmail addresses, and I would guess that most people have at lest 2.
It’s like once you start with Gmail, you just can’t stop! Setting up multiple inboxes allows you to see all unread emails from all inboxes at the top of your inbox, and everything else will show up on the bottom.
To combine your inboxes, go to Settings, which is located under the Inbox tab, then select “Unread First” from the Inbox-Type dropdown.
My business is dependent upon email, but I don’t always have internet access.
And I’ll be honest, I get a little panicky with FOMO when I’m not connected to my email. However, with Gmail Offline (a Chrome extension), you can read, respond to, categorize, and even archive emails without an internet connection.
To enable Gmail Offline, go to the gear icon located in the top right corner, then Settings, then click on the Gmail Offline Tab. You will need to let the extension sync and download your emails for a few minutes before going offline, but don’t worry – the extension will not take up any room on your hard drive.
My biggest struggle with Gmail was being able to find emails. Every single day I get inquiries about sponsored posts, which I respond to promptly, but then I have to remember to follow up. I have always used the List in Google Calendar for my to-do list, but 7 days later, when I have to follow up with a client I’ve only emailed once, it can get tricky to find the email I need to respond to.
Actually, almost all of the items on my to-do list come from my inbox – which is why I love Google Tasks. Google Tasks lives in your Gmail inbox and helps you manage your tasks, and communicate like a champ. Google Tasks allows you to:
- Inbox Clear: Allows you to quickly archive messages beyond a certain date
- Focus: makes Gmail only download messages at certain time of the day, so you don’t spend your whole day on emails
- Create Tasks: create to-do list items that link directly to the email they came from, right in your inbox
- Send Later: Wrote an email but don’t want to send it until a certain time? Productive Inbox can do that too
- Defer Email: Received an email you don’t want to deal with right then? Defer it to a later time.
It’s been a recurring theme for me: 2018 is the year of efficiency. I’ve been carefully building up an arsenal of tools that deliver for more value than what I pay for them, and Google Tasks is absolutely one of them.
So many emails, so little time – am I right?
If you don’t want to see certain emails, like those from Pottery Barn….ahem…….but would still like to receive them in case you ever need a decor break: Select the message > More > Filter messages like these > Create filter with this search (here you can filter out messages with attachment or add other filters too) > Select Skip The Inbox (archives it) > and Apply the Label (the name of the company).
You can also set it up so that emails from specific family members or friends are filtered too!
Unread Messages Shortcut
Never have more than 6 browser tabs open at any given time?
Me too, I feel your pain.
Utilizing a Google Labs extension called “Unread Messages Icon” shows you how many emails are still unread right on the top of the browser tab. It updates automatically – you don’t need to refresh you inbox. To enable go to Settings > Labs > Enable “unread message icon.”
Send Emails From Multiple Email Addresses
Again, with the tools for more than one Gmail address – I guess a lot of people have problems collecting Gmail addresses too!
Go to Settings > Account and Import Tab > “Send Mail As” Section > Add another email address you own button.
You can add and verify as many external or Gmail addresses as you want here, and when you compose an email within Gmail you will then be able to select which address to send it from with the drop-down.
Send Email Later
Boomerang is your tool for sending email later. You can compose emails at any time, and then schedule them to send later.
Send an email to someone you weren’t supposed to or copy someone who wasn’t supposed to see an email? This feature could save you! Enable “Undo Send” by going to Settings > Labs Tab > enable “Undo Send.”
Delete Large Emails
There is a 15GB limit on Gmail, and if you’re approaching that limit you can get a little panicky.
That’s actually not surprising considering that limit includes Google+, Google Drive, and Gmail.
Not sure how much space you’ve used up? Head here to find out. You can send your biggest messages to trash by searching “size:[x number]m” (include the quotes), and the results will display all emails bigger than [x number] of megabytes.
Send & Archive
Is your goal Inbox Zero?
Personally, I’ve given up hope, but if you really must have an empty inbox, then Send and Archive is your friend.
Every time you respond to an email, the conversation is moved out of your inbox and archived. It’s not deleted, though, you can find it under All Mail, or by searching in the top search bar.
Categorize/Label Emails Easily
I have almost 100 email categories, and sending each individual email to one when I’m finished can be a drag if I do it by selecting the category from the drop-down.
To make life easier, you can drag and drop category labels from the left side onto individual email to make categorizing a snap!
Make It Look Pretty
Hate how cluttered your inbox looks?
Click on Settings > select the “Comfortable” display density. This will increase the amount of white space between emails and on the navigation.
Or, if you’re like me and don’t like extra space (between words, pictures, emails, anything really…) you can also decrease the white space.
I’ve used Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail, and I can say with confidence that Gmail is my absolute favorite because of all of the extensions that will do whatever you need them to do, the flexibility, and the customization. And it’s free, so there’s that.
What tips & tricks do you have for Gmail?
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