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16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

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16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

You are probably an ardent user of Gmail and use it almost every day. Do you think you’ve utilized every function of Gmail to ensure maximum productivity when you work? Likely not.

In fact, not all useful Gmail features are spelled out explicitly. So in this article, I will run you through 16 less known Gmail hacks that will super boost your productivity.

1. Unsend a Sent Email

Email blunders are extremely common. An AOL survey, covered by CBS states that around 32% of people accidentally forward the wrong email.

A wrongly sent mail with an undesired attachment or carrying confidential knowledge may create a bad impression as a professional or can even ruin your career.

Keeping this common error in mind, Gmail has created a feature that can help to “unsend” a sent email within a time span of up to 30 seconds.

To do this, simply go to the “Settings” page of your Gmail account. Enable the Undo Send button and set the invalidation period according to your wish. The below given screenshot will help you to understand better.

    2. Get All Emails in One Tab

    Are you the kind of person who hates tab hopping? Would you rather see all your emails at one place rather than different tabs like Social and Promotional?

    This hack ensures that all your emails, irrespective their category are all neatly stacked up in your primary Inbox.

    To achieve this, simply go to the settings of your Gmail and click on the Inbox tab. You can un-select the promotional and social check box and now all your email would be in one place.

    The following screenshot should help:

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      3. Get More Tabs

      However, if you are not someone who likes a laundry list of things, you can likewise add tabs like Updated and Forums and further segregate emails.

      Emails will now automatically be clubbed into the new tabs, helping you focus on important emails.

      4. Self Destruct Email

      Gmail has developed a custom software script that hosts a self-destruct feature. Using this can add a timer to your mail and it will be self-destructed after a certain interval of period.

      This helps when you don’t want an email to be forwarded to someone else. To do this, click on the padlock icon near the send button before you send out the email.

      A new tab named Confidential mode opens with the option of Set Expiration. Make the necessary changes here. Refer to the screenshot and easily self-destruct emails!

        5. Send Mails with a Verification Code

        The confidential mode discussed above also allows you to send an email with a verification encryption sent via SMS to the recipient.

        This will enable you to build an additional coating of security to your mail. Using this feature, you can be sure that the mail is read by the intended recipient only.

          6. Keyboard Alternatives

          If you use your desktop or laptop computer to check your emails, you can use shortcuts from your keyboard to enhance your productivity. Some popular Gmail hacks to improve your productivity are –

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          • Use the alphabet key “N” to read the next message and “P” to read the previous message if you are reading a multi-message conversion.
          • By holding Ctrl + Enter you can send your composed message.

          To utilize the keyboard alternatives, you have to enable it from the settings of your Gmail as given in the screen capture below:

            7. Display Density

            If you are not receiving a lot of emails, I’d recommend you to decrease the display density of your Gmail Inbox.

            It serves like a multi-window function. It is also helpful for you to glance at the just important part of the email.

              8. Reply All

              Occasionally, we forget to select the “Reply All” option while sending a response to multiple recipients.

              However, Gmail has come up with a solution to this problem. Just click on the settings tab and go to the general tab. Scroll down to the “Default Reply Behaviour” and select the Reply all option.

              Now the “Reply All” option will always be the default option selected when conversing with multiple recipients.

                9. Showing Maximum Number of Emails per Page

                If you are receiving too many emails in a day, then you should definitely explore this option.

                It gives you the ability to access more conversations per page. To achieve this, go to settings, click on the General menu bar and scroll down to “ Maximum page size”.

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                Thereafter set the number of conversions you want per page. For reference, check the screenshot given below:

                  10. Conversion View

                  If you are a fan of the classic Gmail, this is a handy hack.

                  To avoid a “thread” view in favor of the old conversation view – just follow these steps. Go to the General menu in the setting tab and simply scroll down to the “Conversion View” and select the option “conversion view off”. Refer to the screen capture underneath.

                    11. Desktop Notification

                    If you live off your emails, then this is a great option. You can simply add a chrome extension of Gmail or go to Settings > General > Desktop Notification and turn it on. It is also extremely helpful if you have set up email alerts for critical functions . The screenshot shared below will help you get it set up.

                      12. Advanced Search

                      This is one of my favorites of all the features. You probably would be using the regular search feature for your Gmail.

                      However, with the sheer amount of emails in the inbox, it is difficult to find specific information. This is where advanced search comes in.

                      Using this feature you can search a specific mail among hundreds of email of your inbox by applying useful filters as illustrated below:

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                        13. Insert Google Drive Files

                        Need to send a large file? Not a problem with Gmail’s new integration feature. You can insert Google drive files as attachments to your mail.

                        Simply click on the Google drive icon on the lowermost portion of the window. It will convert your file as a link or an attachment as shown below:

                          14. Right Click Menu

                          Previously absent from the classic feature. The good old right click is here. Now if you right click on your emails, you can get the option to mark it Unread, Archive, or remove a message. All at a click of a button, straight from your Inbox page.

                          15. Vacation Responder

                          On leave? Don’t have time to reply to all the email you get? Head to the auto-responder option in Gmail.

                          You can customize what message you want to send out to people. To activate it, simply go to settings, click on general tab and scroll down to the vacation responder.

                            16. Account Recovery

                            I get at least one email a day that is spam that tries to hack into my account. So for security purposes, do update your account recovery options. This will be helpful when you are unable to remember your password or have been hacked.

                            It is just a series of questions you need to set up while opening the account (or update later on).

                            Additional tip: You’d need to remember the answers. So choose something you have negligible chance of forgetting or getting it wrong.

                            The Bottom Line

                            If you spend considerable amount of time on Gmail, theses hacks are sure to boost your productivity and better your email using experience.

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                            Start adjusting your Gmail settings and make use of all these hacks for maximum productivity!

                            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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                            Harsh Binani

                            Harsh has helped a lot of multi-national corporations and startups to leverage technology for greater productivity.

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                            Last Updated on October 21, 2021

                            How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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                            How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

                            Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

                            Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

                            The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

                            Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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                            Program Your Own Algorithms

                            Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

                            Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

                            By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

                            How to Form a Ritual

                            I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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                            Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

                            1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
                            2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
                            3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
                            4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

                            Ways to Use a Ritual

                            Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

                            1. Waking Up

                            Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

                            2. Web Usage

                            How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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                            3. Reading

                            How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

                            4. Friendliness

                            Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

                            5. Working

                            One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

                            6. Going to the gym

                            If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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                            7. Exercise

                            Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

                            8. Sleeping

                            Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

                            8. Weekly Reviews

                            The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

                            Final Thoughts

                            We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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                            Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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