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What Google Needs

What Google Needs

    Google has some insanely useful applications, the top of their field in many cases — and by mastering these tools, you can become a productivity ninja. But these apps — Gmail, Gcal, Google Reader, Google Docs, et al — they aren’t perfect.

    Don’t get me wrong — I love these apps. They are awesome, and I couldn’t bring myself to use anything else. But although they’ve come out with some minor upgrades recently, Google has been a little slow in upgrading their great apps with much-needed features. Perhaps they just need a little nudge.

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    Well here it is. Google, here are just a few of the features you need to add, pronto.

    Gmail

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    1. Sort features. You should be able to sort your inbox (or any folder/label) by date, sender, etc.
    2. Two panes. When you open an email, you shouldn’t have to leave the inbox view if you don’t want to.
    3. Dragging. You should be able to drag emails if you want, to re-arrange them, pop them in a label.
    4. Drag-n-drop and batch uploads. Why should we have to manually select each individual file attachment? Allow us to select a bunch of files, and drag them into an email.
    5. Progress bar. Speaking of uploads, if you’ve got some big files attached, and it takes awhile for Gmail to upload, Gmail should show you a progress bar so you know it’s working.
    6. Better integration with Gcal. This has been improving, but as of right now, you need to add third-party extensions to allow you to schedule stuff from an email into your Google Calendar, or to see your agenda for the day in Gmail. With two great tools like this, integration really should be complete.
    7. Unthread. I love the threaded conversations. It’s ingenius. It took me a couple of days to get used to this, back when Gmail first came out, but now it’s indispensable. Except when you don’t want emails to be threaded (if you email something to 50 people, for example). Give us a choice.
    8. Notification. I’m actually not a big fan of email notification, as they’re horribly distracting. But I know that others want it. You could use a third-party extension for this, but you shouldn’t need to.
    9. Open emails in new tab. Self explanatory. Firefox made me addicted to tabs. Why can’t I use them in Gmail?
    10. Read receipt. I wouldn’t use this much, but I think a lot of people find it useful.
    11. Message size. I should be able to see how big a message is, and sort by size. Would make deleting emails easier.
    12. Off-line reading. I love Gmail being online all the time, but what if my Internet connection is down, or I’m away from a wi-fi spot? How will I get my Gmail fix?

    Gcal

    Gcal
      1. To-do list. C’mon. This is pretty basic.
      2. Pop-up notifications. Yes, they have this already, except when Gcal isn’t open. I’d like to be notified at all times.
      3. Quick-add. There’s an extension for this, but it should be built in. Do a simple key combination, and enter an event. Voila.
      4. Off-line usage. Same complaint as Gmail — you should be able to save stuff and view your calendar even when you’re not connected to the Internet. I’m sure this is coming, but it should come sooner.
      5. Drag an event to another week. I love being able to drag an event to another day when I’m in “week” view … but what if it’s next week, or the next month? What then, Google?
      6. Icons. OK, this isn’t that necessary. But darn it, I’d like a little birthday cake next to the birthdays, and a little Christmas tree …

      Google Reader

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      1. Nothing much. This feed reader is pretty much perfect.
      2. Except. Off-line reading.
      3. And search! How is it that the king of search companies doesn’t have search in Reader?
      4. Also: someday/maybe list. If I unsubscribe to a feed, I might want to save it on a list to check out at a later date.

      Google Docs & Spreadsheets

      Google Docs
      1. Sharing with non-Google users. As far as I know, if you want to share a Google doc with someone, they’ll need to log in with a Google account to access it. Well, they shouldn’t have to.
      2. Drag-n-drop. When I’m looking at my list of docs, I should be able to re-sort them, put them into folders, drag them to my desktop, and drag documents from the desktop to Google Docs.
      3. Selecting text. I should be able to use the keyboard to select a paragraph of text, like you can in other word processors. Control-Shift-Up Arrow. It’s frustrating not to be able to do that.
      4. Spreadsheets. This app needs a lot of work. It’s so behind other spreadsheet programs it’s almost not usable. I can make some very basic spreadsheets, but it’s a lot more time consuming. Simple things, like being able to quickly do a Sum formula without having to click on the Formulas tab first. Keyboard shortcuts. Things like that.
      5. Off-line working. Same as above. This would be killer.

      Other apps Google needs

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      1. Glist. Instead of just adding a to-do list into Gcal, Google should come up with a really cool to-do list program, with multiple lists, project view, drag-n-drop, reminders, etc. Basically a Google GTD program, integrated tightly with Gmail, Gcal, and Google Docs & Spreadsheets.
      2. GMoney. There are a lot of personal finance programs out there, but Google needs one, integrated with its other features. I’m sure it will do this one day.
      3. GDrive. This has been discussed, but really, Google should put your hard drive online. Drag and drop files, sort them, put them in folders.
      4. GContacts. I like how Gmail automatically adds email address to your contact list. I barely even think about my contacts anymore. Until I want to look up a phone number. Then I have to go to Contacts, do a search, click on the contact … using the contact manager is one of the worst features in Gmail. Google should have a separate Contact manager, integrated with Gmail and Gcal. And make it really cool, kay?

      What features or apps would you like to see Google add? Let us know in the comments.

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      Leo Babauta

      Founder of Zen Habits and expert in habits building and goals achieving.

      What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time The Gentle Art of Saying No Simple Productivity: 10 Ways to Do More by Focusing on the Essentials How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life How to Pare Your To-do List Down to the Essentials

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      Last Updated on May 12, 2020

      8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times

      8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times

      Many of us find ourselves in motivational slumps that we have to work to get out of. Sometimes it’s like a continuous cycle where we are motivated for a period of time, fall out and then have to build things back up again.

      There is nothing more powerful for self-motivation than the right attitude. You can’t choose or control your circumstance, but you can choose your attitude towards your circumstances.

      How I see this working is while you’re developing these mental steps, and utilizing them regularly, self-motivation will come naturally when you need it.

      The key, for me, is hitting the final step to Share With Others. It can be somewhat addictive and self-motivating when you help others who are having trouble.

      A good way to have self motivation continuously is to implement something like these 8 steps from Ian McKenzie.[1] I enjoyed Ian’s article but thought it could use some definition when it comes to trying to build a continuous drive of motivation. Here is a new list on how to self motivate:

      1. Start Simple

      Keep motivators around your work area – things that give you that initial spark to get going.

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      These motivators will be the Triggers that remind you to get going.

      2. Keep Good Company

      Make more regular encounters with positive and motivated people. This could be as simple as IM chats with peers or a quick discussion with a friend who likes sharing ideas.

      Positive and motivated people are very different from the negative ones. They will help you grow and see opportunities during tough times.

      Here’re more reasons why you should avoid negative people: 10 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Negative People

      3. Keep Learning

      Read and try to take in everything you can. The more you learn, the more confident you become in starting projects.

      You can train yourself to crave lifelong learning with these tips: How to Develop a Lifelong Learning Habit

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      4. See the Good in Bad

      When encountering obstacles or challenging goals, you want to be in the habit of finding what works to get over them.

      Here are 10 tips to make positive thinking easy.

      5. Stop Thinking

      Just do. If you find motivation for a particular project lacking, try getting started on something else. Something trivial even, then you’ll develop the momentum to begin the more important stuff.

      When you’re thinking and worrying about it too much, you’re just wasting time. These tried worry busting techniques can help you.

      6. Know Yourself

      Keep notes on when your motivation sucks and when you feel like a superstar. There will be a pattern that, once you are aware of, you can work around and develop.

      Read for yourself how the magic of marking down your mood works.

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      7. Track Your Progress

      Keep a tally or a progress bar for ongoing projects. When you see something growing, you will always want to nurture it.

      Take a look at these 4 simple ways to track your progress so you have motivation to achieve your goals.

      8. Help Others

      Share your ideas and help friends get motivated. Seeing others do well will motivate you to do the same. Write about your success and get feedback from readers.

      Helping others actually helps yourself, here’s why.

      What I would hope happens here is you will gradually develop certain skills that become motivational habits.

      Once you get to the stage where you are regularly helping others keep motivated – be it with a blog or talking with peers – you’ll find the cycle continuing where each facet of staying motivated is refined and developed.

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      Too Many Steps?

      If you could only take one step? Just do it!

      Once you get started on something, you’ll almost always just get into it and keep going. There will be times when you have to do things you really don’t want to: that’s where the other steps and tips from other writers come in handy.

      However, the most important thing, that I think is worth repeating, is to just get started.

      Get that momentum going and then when you need to, take Ian’s Step 7 and Take A Break. No one wants to work all the time!

      More Tips for Boosting Motivation

      Featured photo credit: Japheth Mast via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Ian McKenzie: 8 mental steps to self-motivation

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