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16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

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.

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

                            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                            More by this author

                            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 January 6, 2021

                            14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                            14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                            Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                            In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                            For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                            For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                            Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                            Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                            Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                            How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                            Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                            1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                            Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                            For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                            2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                            Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                            Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                            Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                            3. Create a System

                            Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                            This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                            You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                            Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                            Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                            4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                            We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                            If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                            Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                            Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                            5. Use a Ratings Scale

                            Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                            Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                            It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                            6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                            This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                            You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                            You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                            7. Offer Feedback Forms

                            Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                            First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                            Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                            You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                            8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                            This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                            Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                            Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                            9. Use Self-Evaluations

                            Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                            Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                            10. Monitor Time Management

                            This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                            Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                              The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                              While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                              11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                              We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                              Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                              For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                              Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                              Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                              From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                              12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                              This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                              Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                              Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                              It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                              13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                              When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                              Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                              Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                              14. Use an External Evaluator

                              Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                              They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                              While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                              Final Thoughts

                              These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                              The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                              The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

                              More Productivity Tips

                              Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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