This is a guest post by Tom Samph, Director of Content at Grovo
Email takes up 28% of workers’ time. That’s about two hours and 14 minutes per every 8-hour workday. Emails are by far one of the biggest productivity killers in the workplace, along with mobile phones, and meetings to review meetings.
If you’ve got a Gmail address or use Google Apps for work, you’re probably busy navigating your Google-made inbox for a big part of the day. There are a number of things you can do to cut down on your email havoc. From using Gmail as a task management system, to playing The Email Game app that encourages users to get their inbox to zero messages by gamifying the process.
For all the time you spend in Gmail though, you probably aren’t taking full advantage of its tools: it’s simple on the surface, but packed with features, and changes all the time. At Grovo, an online learning platform for social media, cloud computing and Internet tools, we have put together a list of the top five things you didn’t know about Gmail to make your day more productive:
Use Gmail Without Internet Access
If you’re somewhere with your laptop and need to your email but don’t have internet access, you can use Gmail Offline. Enabling Gmail offline allows you to use the Chrome web browser on a computer to manage your Gmail inbox even without being connected to the Internet. When you enable offline mail, your Gmail messages are saved in Google Chrome’s storage, so do not enable offline mail on a computer that’s not yours.
Otherwise, that person could have access to your email. When you regain Internet access, Gmail will automatically sync all your mail from the last week. At any point when your computer is not connected to the Internet, open Chrome and select the Gmail Offline icon. Here’s a video by Grovo that will show you exactly how to manage your settings to enable Gmail offline, and determine how far back you want your email to sync.
Escape From That Neverending Thread
If you’re continually receiving messages in a group conversation that you no longer care about, you can mute the conversation to send any future messages in that thread straight to your archive. To mute a conversation, open it, or check the boxes to the left of several conversations in your inbox to mute more than one at a time.
Then, click “More” and choose “Mute,” or just press “M” on your keyboard if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled. Now, whenever someone sends an email in a muted thread, it will go right to your archive and you won’t have to worry about dealing with it. To find a muted conversation, search “is:muted” or any keyword, phrase, or email address from the conversation. You can unmute a thread by selecting it, clicking “More,” and choosing “Unmute.”
Set Reminders to Check Emails with RightInbox
Dealing with incoming emails can become a major time-sink, which will cause your productivity to take a hit. What slows you down most is the time spent changing gears from work tasks to your email and then back again. While you should be checking your email regularly for urgent emails, avoid answering each email as you receive it. Set aside part of your day to respond to batches of emails that are less urgent.
If you’re worried you will forget to get back to them alter, check out RightInbox. It’s a Gmail App that, among other things, lets you set reminders for outgoing emails and for any email sitting in your inbox. If you need to set a reminder for an email in your inbox, simply check the box next to it. This will cause the “Remind Me” button to appear on top of your inbox.
Make Gmail a Social Media Rolodex with Rapportive
Most webmail clients today offer an address book that acts as a modern day rolodex. But with more and more people building out an online presence through social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, wouldn’t it make sense to centralize a contact’s online information right there next to an inbound email from them?
Rapportive is a Gmail add-on and social intelligence utility that provides context to every email sender. Once installed, in place of Google ads you’ll find a profile sheet that displays your contact’s online footprint. What’s great about Rapportive is it easily installs on several browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari. Here’s how to install it
Train Your Email With Boomerang
Boomerang is a Gmail and Google Apps utility that allows you to bring messages back to the top of your inbox on specified dates and times, making it easy to remember to respond to messages, or complete actions, exactly at the time that you need to.
You can also use Boomerang to schedule composed emails to be automatically delivered to recipients at a later time. And, because Boomerang is an “extension” to your Gmail or Google Apps account, you can access all of the features right within your inbox, or as you’re typing a new message.
Check out this short video to learn how to schedule messages to return to your inbox, schedule messages to be delivered later, get reminders when your emails go unreplied, and train your email with Boomerang
About the Author
Tom Samph is the Director of Content at Grovo Learning, an online Internet education and training platform. Tom is responsible for leading strategy and operations of Grovo’s real-time video production team, which produces about 15 new video tutorials each day, covering the latest changes to popular websites and apps. Tom graduated in 2010 from Boston University with a degree in Journalism and French, and has written for publications such as GlobalPost, Inventor’s Digest, and the Improper Bostonian.