We spend nearly 6.5 hours every day checking and responding to emails (Adobe Systems, Inc 2015 survey) so imagine the world in which one of these magical tips could help you be just 15% more productive. That alone would give you an extra hour every day! My mantra for running a startup is simple, look at the areas in which you spend the most time and optimize, optimize, OPTIMIZE!
We spend so much time checking email every day, it’s one of the most important (yet overlooked) methods to improve our productivity.
If you’re not using Gmail or G Suite (for business) you’re missing out on tons of plugins that developers create and even Gmail Labs with really cool apps you can be using to customize your email experience.
Enable Keyboard shortcuts (settings > general) which will help you be faster by keeping your fingers on the keys instead of on the touchpad
- Stop clicking all over, you can use your keyboard to archive message, file, compile, etc. You’ll save a few seconds with everything you do
Send & Archive (settings > general) to limit the need to file or delete messages after you send a reply.
- This is huge. After every email do you find yourself filing the message away or hitting delete? Once you press send, this message will automatically be filed under all emails and no longer in your inbox. MASSIVE time saver.
- The search box is sophisticated enough that you should just spend your time in there if you need to find a message
Add stars (settings > general) so you can see the important messages first.
- You can select one of the presets (like 4 stars) and you’ll have access to a yellow star, blue star, green check mark, and pink exclamation point. This is a great and quick way to identify content. I also use this with important clients. They are automatically applied with a star when they hit my inbox so I never miss any of their messages.
Utilize your filters more efficiently to save time by reading all unnecessary emails at once vs 10 different times during the day
- Click on any email and “filter” messages by sender or subject (or even keyword), you can then do what I do. I have a folder _To Read (I add the underscore so it’s listed at the top of my folder list) and I set any of my newsletters or anything else is not urgent to auto filter to that list (more> filters> create filter> skip the inbox > apply the label)
Settings > Lab
- There are so many cool tools you can add to your email, just explore away. Two of my favorites are:
- Canned Responses
- If you feel like you are often typing the same content over and over again
- Preview Pane
- See your emails without having to double click on the message
- Canned Responses
Create disposable email addresses for signup forms and social media to minimize distractions
- Gmail doesn’t recognize anything after “+” so if your email is email@example.com and want to signup for Twitter but don’t want all those emails, choose firstname.lastname@example.org and then create a custom filter with this email, and all those pesky emails will get sent to a specific folder or even skip your inbox all together.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator (formerly Rapporative)
- Know the LinkedIn details of the people that email you (or that you are emailing)
- You can even connect with them directly through the app
- Its great for sales prospecting because if you don’t know the person’s exact email address, you can type in different variations in the “to” field and once you hit on the right one, their face will popup with their LinkedIn details.
- Basically, it’s more detailed look at the people you’re talking with
- Check multiple email accounts at once, counter right next to url bar. Compose messages from different addresses to.
- I hate toggling between multiple gmail accounts, this is the perfect solution
- Guaranteed to not let you forget if you got a reply, you can set the message to return back to your inbox unless you get a reply.
- You can also send messages later. Say you want to impress a prospect and send them an email at 5am on Saturday, you can do that. Or even if they mention they are doing something fun over the weekend and you want to wish them luck (but its Tuesday and it seems like a complete hassle to create a calendar invite just to remember to send them an email).. The plugin can also do that for you.
- And if you’re like me, and use your inbox as your to-do list, you can snooze messages and have then return later in the day or even next week when you’re more prepared to handle it
- Secure encrypted emails
- Once you download the extension, see the top left of your Gmail (after refreshing), you’ll see the lock next to the compose button. Type your message, hit send, enter encryption password. The recipient will have to enter the password before viewing the email
- This is great to send along customer details or other private business information. Plus it will give your customers more confidence that you’ve taken this extra level of security with their data.
- Snapchat like emails that self-destruct in a certain amount of time.
- Lets you see if someone is tracking your email opens
- Prevents email tracking by blocking the pixels that are usually embedded in emails to see if you’ve opened them