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Published on January 29, 2019

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 February 21, 2019

                            7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

                            7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

                            Forgot a name? Misplaced your keys? Taking longer to find the right words? Don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do to improve your memory.

                            You’re probably expecting us to reveal 7 little known and newly discovered herbs from the forests of the Amazon, the peaks of the Himalayas and the Arctic tundra. No such luck.

                            Despite Americans spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on Ginkgo Biloba, Ashwagandha, Periwinkle, Bacopa, Vitamin B’s, Omega 3’s and memory boosting supplement cocktails, there is very little scientific evidence they actually work. [1]

                            Instead, we’re going to offer you 7 completely natural memory boosters, backed up by scientific research. It may take a little more effort than a magic memory pill, but the benefits will transcend your memory and improve your overall quality of life as well, making you more fit, energetic, happy and sharp.

                            How Do We Remember?

                            The first process in remembering is creating a memory.

                            This is where our brain sends a signal, associated with a thought, event or piece of information our mind is processing, over our brains neural pathways, called synapses.

                            Think of our neural pathways like roads and information like trucks. The better the roads, the more trucks can be driven.

                            The second step in remembering is memory consolidation.

                            Consolidation is when the brain takes that thought, event or piece of information and actually stores it in the brain. So now we’re talking about taking delivery of the trucks and storing its contents in the warehouse.

                            Consolidation helps us store information and label it properly, so its organized and easy to retrieve when needed.

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                            The last step is memory retrieval.

                            That’s the step whereby we try to retrieve the information stored in our brains. You know when you have the name of someone on the tip of your tongue.

                            You have the information; it’s been stored, but you just can’t find it. Our memory recall is typically better the stronger the memory is and the more often we’ve used it.

                            Memory decline is a normal part of aging. However, new scientific research is discovering many new ways for us to improve memory creation, consolidation and retrieval–no matter our age.

                            7 Natural Memory Boosters

                            So how to work on memory and boost your brain power? Here’re 7 brain boosters backed by science that you should try:

                            1. Aerobic Exercise

                            Aerobic activity is about as close as we get to a magic pill for our memories. Exercise helps your brain create new capillaries and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which creates new brain cells and connections. To put it in plain english, aerobic activity changes our brains and helps it grow.

                            Studies have shown that exercising increases the size of the hippocampus and improves memory. In fact, even if you start exercising as an older adult, you can reverse cognitive decline by 1 to 2 years and protects against further decreases in the size of the hippocampus, which is essential for memory. [2]

                            In another study, reviewed by Dr. Ian Robertson of the University of Dublin, they looked at a group of people of 60 years and older, who engaged in “active walking” for four months.

                            They compared them with another group of people who only stretched over the same period of time. After testing both groups before and after the 4 month period, the walkers improved their memory and attention considerably more than the stretching group.

                            So which exercises are best and how much do we have to exercise?

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                            Turns out, it doesn’t really matter whether you run, swim, row or bike. What does matter is that you push yourself beyond your current abilities, keep doing more, keep getting better. Set yourself short term goals and keep pushing the goal posts.

                            2. Sleep

                            You need your sleep. The deeper the better. Sleep helps improve your procedural memory (how to do things, like how do I navigate my iPhone) and declarative memory (facts, like what’s my password). [3]

                            Even short naps from 6 to 45 minutes have been shown to improve your memory. In one Harvard study, college students memorized pairs of unrelated words, memorized a maze and copied a complex form. All were tested on their work. Half were then allowed to take a 45 minute nap. They were then retested. Those who took a nap, got a boost in their performance. [4]

                            Another study showed that getting REM (deep) sleep can increase your memory and mental performance by 33% to 73%. Getting a deep sleep helps the brain consolidate memories through dreams and “associative processing”. However, the study also revealed that heart rate variability in deep sleep also contributed significantly to increased memory performance. [5]

                            3. MIND Diet

                            Healthy eating, particularly more dark colored fruit, vegetables and oily fish has been shown to improve memory and stave off cognitive decline.

                            The MIND diet is proven to reduce the risk of dementia. It’s a mix of the popular Mediterranean diet and the low blood pressure DASH diet. [6]

                            The study kept track of the diets of almost 1,000 older adults. They were followed for an average of 4½ years.

                            The study concluded that “people whose diets were most strongly in line with the MIND diet had brains that functioned as if they were 7½ years younger than those whose diets least resembled this eating style.”

                            The study also showed that people who followed the MIND diet in the study reduced their chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease in half.

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                            So what does the MIND diet consist of? Lots of vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, berries, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, whole grains and wine.

                            4. Relax

                            We all know that stress is bad for our health. It can raise our blood pressure, impact our immune system and interrupt our sleep. Stress also impairs our memory.

                            When our body gets stressed, it releases cortisol into our blood stream, which can cause short and long term physical changes to the brain. While cortisol has sometimes been shown to cause increases in short term memory, it can actually decrease our long term recall memory.

                            To help reduce the stress in your life, try relaxing with meditation, yoga or breathing exercises. Unplug–even for just a few hours. Stop checking your emails, social accounts and news. Release some endorphins with some exercise.

                            Bottom line, the more anxious and stressed we are, the less clearly we think, the poorer our memory works.

                            5. Continuous Learning

                            The mind is like a muscle. The more you challenge it, the stronger it gets. The more you learn, the more you can learn.

                            Research shows that learning can actually change the physical makeup of your brain. Not too long ago, we used to think that you were born with a fixed amount of brain cells, which declined with age. New research now shows that we can actually increase the number of brain cells we have throughout our life.

                            Aside from staying physically active, learning new skills and studying can actually keep our brains healthier. Consider taking a continuing education class, studying a new language, learning a new instrument, playing new card games. [7]

                            Studies show that the more complex the task, the more benefits for your mind. Simply showing up to class is not enough. You need to be actively engaged. Anything that forces you to focus and learn something new and get out of a rote routine will help you sharpen your mind and boost your memory.

                            6. Stay Social

                            The more deep and meaningful social connections you maintain, the more you protect your brain. Bottom line, the more friends you have, the more people you work with, the more you’re forced to use your brain.

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                            Social isolation and loneliness are significant risks of dementia. Without interacting with others, our brains wilt. Isolation and loneliness lead to depression, physical and mental decline. [8]

                            In a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, seniors with a full social calendar did better on memory, reasoning, and processing speed tests. [9]

                            What to do?

                            Party! Seriously, get together with friends as often as possible. Have family dinners. Choose social activities or sports like tennis, golf, cards or go for walks with a friend. Bottom line have fun, build meaningful social relationships and stay connected. Not only will it make your mind sharper and your memory better, you’ll be happier, too!

                            7. Wakeful Rest

                            This one is getting harder and harder to do. In a world where we can’t sit on a bus, go up an elevator or go to the bathroom without our phones, doing absolutely nothing to distract our minds is becoming increasingly difficult.

                            But, the results are in. Doing nothing is great for your memory. Quietly resting for 10 minutes, after you learn something will help you remember and help you create more detailed memories. [10]

                            What we do minutes after we learn something new has a significant impact on how well we retain the new information. In another study, it didn’t matter what you did after you learned something new, as long as you weren’t distracted by outside factors. In other words, you could be thinking of your day, making a grocery list, or thinking of a story. In either case, wakeful rest for a period of 10 minutes helped the brain process and consolidate your memories so that you were better able to recall the information at a later date. [11]

                            Conclusion

                            You don’t have to spend a dime on cocktails and supplements promising a quick boost to your memory power. There is very little conclusive scientific evidence suggesting supplements will help improve the memories of healthy individuals–not for Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin B, fish oils, Vitamin D, Folate or other supplements claiming they a secret formula.

                            There are far cheaper and more effective ways to boost your memory: exercise, rest, eat well, learn, love, laugh and relax. Who wouldn’t want that prescription?

                            More Resources About Boost Brain Power

                            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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