The following post is from Prerna of The Mom Writes:
We all use email. Like it or hate it, we need it. Email is the easiest, most efficient way of keeping us in touch with friends, family, colleagues, prospects and pretty much the whole world.
However, lately email has been getting a bad rap. Zero in-boxes and even no email is becoming quite popular. While I agree that too much of email can be overwhelming, if you use the right email tool, you can easily turn it into a productivity tool, unlike any other.
Let’s take a look at Gmail, one of the most popular email tool on the market, and turn it into a go-to resource for streamlining quite a bit of the chaos in our lives:
1. Clutter-Free Email
First things first, Gmail is the most efficient way to deal with email. Not only can you set it up to receive and send your email from other POP accounts, such as the one attached to your website domain, you can set up filters for different kinds of emails and have them sent directly to their respective folders. You can choose an inbox setting that makes you most comfortable. From showing you the Unread messages first to showing you Important messages first, you can set it all in Gmail Settings.
2. Your To-Do List in Your Email
Gmail changes how you manage your to-do list. With the Tasks feature, you can simply create a to-do list right there in Gmail. Say, you’re reading an email that has a time-bound activity mentioned, simply go to the tab above the email that says ‘More’, click on it, scroll down to ‘Add to Tasks’ , edit details, and you’re done. Archive the email, and you have a clean inbox as well.
You’ll have a small box at the right-hand side with all your tasks and check boxes as well. Plus, you can take it a step further and add the task to your Google Calendar as well.
3. A Calendar that Keeps Up With You
I’ve used a LOT of calendars, and while the paper and pen version is my favorite for offline activities, I rely heavily on my Google Calendar for pretty much everything that needs to be done online – meetings, project work, client work, webinars, etc.
What sets the Google Calendar apart from most other online calendars is that it is clean, clutter-free, and gives you everything you need without any figuring out. You can add tasks to it right from your email account and set reminders to pop up in your email inbox
4. Email Templates to Simplify Sending Email
One of the coolest features about Gmail is Canned Responses. Again, you’ll have to activate these from Labs in Settings. But once you do, you can create a Canned Response for any email that you send out a LOT of. For me that included testimonial requests, review and sponsorship pitches and thank-you notes. So, you simply go to compose, write your email the way you want to. Next, right below the Subject line, you’ll see Canned Responses. Click, scroll down to Save, under which you’ll see ‘New Canned Response’, click that, give your response a name and voila, you’re done.
The next time, you need to send that email, simply go to compose, click Canned Responses, click Insert, “canned response email name” and you’ll just have to tweak details before sending. No copying, pasting, formatting.
5. Send and Archive for a Zero Inbox Faster
Finally, if a ‘zero inbox’ is really big on your list, go to Labs, enable the Send and Archive option and the next time, you reply to an email, it would be automatically archived, leaving you with a clean inbox.
While Gmail is quite the productivity rockstar when it comes to emails, it would lose its shine if you were to keep it open all the time, check it every 30 minutes and basically, sap your productivity because of it. So, make sure that you don’t turn your email into a time sink. Schedule 2-3 slots for checking email and replying to it, and then, sit back to marvel at the wonder that is Gmail.
Do you use Gmail? Is your email boosting your productivity instead of sapping it?
|Prerna Malik is a mom, a wife, a writer and woman who believes in being postively productive, parenting with love and creating a home that invites you to put your feet up and relax. Find her sharing her journey and experiences with productivity and parenting at The Mom Writes.|