Gmail Does More Than You Think: 8 Ways to Get the Most of It

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If you’re one of the millions of people who use Gmail on a daily basis, you should know that you’re probably not using the app for all it’s worth. There are dozens, if not hundreds of settings, features, and opportunities for enhancement that have the power to improve your productivity—yet most people never discover them.

Get More Out of Gmail

If you’re interested in getting more out of Gmail, try employing these important strategies:

  1. Use add-ons, extensions, and third-party apps. Google is friendly to third-party developers, so there are dozens of Gmail add-ons, Gmail extensions, and Gmail plugins you can use to enhance your experience. For example, you can use a third-party dashboard to see how much time you spend on email, and find ways to improve your productivity, or you could use an integrated grammar tool to make sure your emails are free of mistakes before you send them out. There’s an app for almost everything, and they’re relatively easy to install and set up.
  2. View your Gmail analytics. Did you know you can access analytics for Gmail? View the number of emails you send and receive over time, how many words are in an average sent or received email, your average response times, email volume by day of the week, and much more. It’s not just fascinating insight into your email usage; it’s a surefire way to enhance your daily productivity.
  3. Create your own organization system. Gmail has tons of tools to keep you organized, but it’s on you to devise a system for how to use them. For example, you can use importance markers, stars, and the read/unread status to sort your emails visually, or use labels and sub-labels to properly categorize those messages. You can also set up Categories to filter your messages before they even hit your Inbox. Whatever you choose, keep it consistent for the best results.
  4. Customize your layout and settings. Take the time to customize your inbox layout and settings. You can increase or decrease the size of your messages, show threads as grouped or individual line items, and change your background theme so it’s easier on your eyes. You can also access advanced settings, which grant you access to experimental new features, such as custom inbox views and canned responses. Here’s a full list of Gmail hacks and tricks.
  5. Consider switching to Inbox. You can access your Gmail account through Google Inbox, which is considered a separate email client (but is still free). Inbox offers several free features that Gmail doesn’t, including bundled email delivery, sweeping, and a reminder system. It’s worth a try if you’ve never used it before.
  6. Make use of Tasks and Keep. Of course, if you use the traditional Gmail layout, you can also make use of the integrated features of Tasks and Keep. You can access these apps on the right-hand side of your desktop app, and use them to turn your emails into to-do list items, take notes, and access those materials on any other device.
  7. Get used to shortcuts. Consider using Gmail keyboard shortcuts, which condense most operations in Gmail to a single keystroke. It takes some time to get used to them, but once you do, you’ll find the time you spend on email reduced dramatically.
  8. Manipulate custom searches and filters. If you’ve ever lost track of an email, you’ll be glad to know how easy it is to set up custom searches in Gmail. Using detailed search operators, you can filter out emails based on dozens of criteria, including the sender, original location, and time of sending. You can also turn those custom searches into custom filters, which you can apply in the future, whenever you see fit.

There’s much more to Gmail than a simple platform to send and receive email. If you use these strategies wisely, you can consolidate your other apps, improve your efficiency, and get more done every day. Take the time to explore these oft-overlooked features—you’ll be glad you did.

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