Gmail has some useful default features that you can use to improve efficiency which eventually leads to better productivity. However, some of those features are not enabled by default. Also, the setting options to enable those features often lie deep somewhere, leading most users don’t know about their existence.
Speaking of efficiency, keyboard shortcut is the most common feature you can make use of. There are dozens of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to perform certain actions in Gmail instead of making too many mouse clicks. For instance, you can press the R key to reply to an email, F to forward an email, and so on. We have created a cheat sheet which you can download here. Gmail also allows you to customize the keyboard shortcuts in case you have a better idea for a certain shortcut.
By the way, here are 4 useful Gmail tips you can try to improve your productivity.
1. Utilize folders
The first thing you can do to improve your productivity with Gmail is by organizing your emails. Gmail has some features that you can use to organize your emails. One of which, you can create folders. Creating folders is great to prevent your Inbox from being overflowed by too many emails. Having too many emails in a single folder is not great at all. You can create different folders to put together the emails by category (folder). For instance, you can create a “Jobs” folder to put together all of the emails related to your job such as emails from your boss and from teammates. Or, if you are a blogger or videographer, you can create an “offers” folder to put together all of the partnership offer emails.
One thing. There is no “folder” term in Gmail. Instead, folders are referred to as labels in Gmail. You can create as many labels as you want according to your needs. To create a new label, you can click the Create new label button on the left sidebar (click More if you don’t see the button).
2. Use filters
This is the follow-up of the first tip above. After creating some folders, you can filter your emails and send them (the filtered emails) to the folders you have. You can do this because the filtering feature of Gmail allows you to add a certain action over the filtered emails. You can, for instance, filters all emails coming from your boss and your teammates that use the company’s email (email@example.com) to the “Jobs” folder.
By doing this, Gmail will send every new incoming email to the specified folder. There are several parameters you can use to filter the emails, not just by email address. You can also filter emails by keyword, date, size of the file attachment, and so on.
In addition to automatically sending emails to a certain folder, you can also set other actions, including automatically delete spam emails. Read this article to learn more. To use the filtering feature of Gmail, you can click the arrow icon inside the search bar.
3. Utilize Google Tasks
Google Tasks has been around as a default task manager in Gmail for a quite while. Have you realized it? This feature is pretty handy to manage tasks assigned to you via email. To turn an email into a task, open the email and click the three-dot icon on the bar beneath the search bar. Select Add to Tasks.
To access your tasks, you can click the Google Tasks icon on the right sidebar. You can also create lists to manage your tasks.
You can also access your tasks via your smartphone by installing the Google Tasks app on your smartphone (available for Android and iOS).
4. Create reply templates
As bloggers, we often get emails asking for partnership possibilities. Since we often reply to those emails with a similar pattern, we decided to create templates. Gmail has a feature that allows you to create email templates. You can make use of this feature to create reply templates. This way, you don’t need to manually type your reply for emails that need a similar reply. Before being able to create a template, you need to enable this feature first. To do so, go to the Settings page by clicking the gear icon on the upper-right corner. Enable the Templates option under the Advanced tab and click the Save Changes button.
To create a reply template, simply open an email and write a reply just like usual. Once done writing the reply content, click the three-dot icon on the lower-right corner. Hover your mouse over Templates and select Save draft as template -> Save as new template.
You can use the templates you created when replying to an email. To use a template, simply click the three-line dot on the lower-right corner and hover your mouse over Templates and select the template you want to use.
The bottom line
In the job world, email is the main communication tool. If you use Gmail, the 4 tips above are useful enough to streamline your workflow. There are many other hidden features you can explore. If you use Gmail too and found some hidden useful features, don’t hesitate to share them with us in the comment section.