Thursday, January 27, 2011

6 Simple Tips to be More Productive on Gmail

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Gmail is an excellent approach to email from Google, but just having an account will not make you stand apart from the crowd. In this post, I am going to mention 6 simple Tips to be more productive while using Gmail. The tips aren’t something spectacularly innovative, they are just about features which were present all this time.

1. Receive all Your External Emails:

Most of us use more than one email address regularly and checking them every now and then is a waste of time. If all your accounts are with Gmail, you should consider turning on the nifty Email Delegation feature. If your other email accounts are spread across Yahoo!, Hotmail, and the like; read on.

Go to Settings > Accounts and Import (Tab) > and choose ‘Import mail and contacts’.

Import Mail and Contacts - GMail

You will now be asked to enter the ID and Password of the mail account you are looking to import. If you are importing a POP3 based email account you may have to provide details for the same. But, don’t worry yet. These are the details which you use when you configure Desktop mail clients and they can be easily procured by contacting your service provider. If you use a service like Yahoo! or Hotmail, they are configured automatically by Gmail. You should see a screen like the one below after you’ve completely given out the details.

Start Import - GMail

Just hit ‘Start Import’ and all the contacts and email will be imported and stored in the label allotted. You may have to re-authorize the email account after 30-days, but most services don’t require that.

Import Complete

Remember that Importing takes a while your stuff should appear within 2 days. (But, it usually happens in an hour depending on the amount of stuff you have in the other account).

2. Use Priority Inbox:

I’ve seen a lot of users shy away from Priority Inbox and I still can’t understand why. Priority Inbox is one of the best features available that can make your more productive on Gmail, especially when you receive loads of email everyday. I highly recommend you turn it on and give it a try. Have a look at the amazing video embedded below to have a better understanding about what Priority Inbox really is.

To enable Priority Inbox go to Settings > Priority Inbox (Tab) > Click on ‘Show Priority Inbox’.

3. Use the Labs Feature:

Developer by Ty Nigh, on Flickr  





Gmail has a pretty cool section called ‘Labs’ where the features that are going to be a part of Gmail in the future are present. You can enable the ones which interest you. Just navigate to Settings > Labs (Tab). Check out ‘10 Gmail Labs You Should Enable’ on Lifehacker to get started.

4. Enable Offline Mail:

Gmail offers Offline Mail with the help of Google Gears. Using this feature ensures that you can use the Gmail Web Interface even when you don’t have access to the Internet. Check out this article for detailed Instructions to Enable Offline Mail.

5. Undo Send:

This feature is a godsend for people who get way too excited often. I remember sending emails to the wrong people and later mailing them again to apologize.

If you’ve mistakenly sent an email to the wrong person, you will have to press the Undo button within 5-30 seconds according to your settings and the mail won’t be sent.

Just go to Settings > General (Tab) > Undo Send – Check ‘Enable Undo Send’ and choose a comfortable cancellation period. This feature was once under the ‘Labs’ tab, but has graduated to become mainstream.

6. Use Google Chrome, seriously! :

Google has lately been rolling out interesting Google Chrome Specific Features to Gmail and using Chrome as your primary browser will help you make the most of all the features out there.

7. Use Gmail Related Browser Extensions:

There are loads of browser extensions which work harmoniously with Gmail to give you a better experience. Here are a few:

Google Chrome:

Mozilla Firefox:

  • Gmail Watcher: Provides notifications for new emails. This one will be very useful since Gmail does not provide notifications natively on Firefox.


Gmail Counter, Gmail This, Minimal Gmail and Meeting Scheduler for Gmail are some of the well-known Gmail extensions for Safari. View them here.


Gmail Checker and Hide Gmail Ads are the only Gmail based extensions I could find for Opera.

If you’ve got some productivity ideas that were not mentioned in this article, feel free to drop in a comment below.