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New Gmail Filter Hacks

New Gmail Filter Hacks

We can make this a running discussion of uses for Gmail’s Filter feature. It’s a simple tool that makes organizing your emails a breeze, and importantly, automatic. Today we’ll focus on three topics: Storage, Bookmarking and Organization [GTD].

Either in Settings or next to Gmail’s search box, is a link to Create a Filter.

  • When adding a filter we enter some parameters like who the email is from or what the subject line contains etc.
  • Next step, we check Skip the Inbox, add the Label we want the email to be sorted to, check Apply to conversations below and Create Filter.

That’s a simple process that we will repeat for the following hacks.

New Gmail Filter Hacks

    Storage

    There are two handy programs out there that turn that free 2.something gig on your Gmail account into real space. This is great to keep certain files mobile and accessible.

    GSpace is a firefox extension that creates a direct link through your browser to that disk space. It will create an icon in your status bar that, when clicked, will open a dialog box to add and extract files from.

    You can drag files directly from your browser, but it’s somewhat temperamental. However, this extension’s strength lies in the ability to manage multiple Gmail accounts.

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    Gmail Drive is a “Shell Namespace Extension that creates a virtual filesystem around your Google Gmail account,” to quote the website. This enables you to use your Gmail storage as another drive on your computer.

    This works very well and enables you to throw any filetype in there – you just need to login. Since we’ve created another drive, you can treat it as such and organize files into folders.

    Each time you add a file to your Gmail drive, via either application, it will show up in your inbox as another email. So instead, we create a few filters so your inbox isn’t filled with emails each time a file is uploaded.

    Each file added from the Firefox extension will come into Gmail, as an email, with “GSPACE” in the subject line. So create a filter with “GSPACE” as the subject, and a Label called something like Drive.

    The same applies for the Gmail Drive uploads, however, use a filter with the subject line, “GMAILFS”. Now, here’s the good bit.

    If you do happen to upload files into separate folders on the drive – MP3s, Documents etc – we can create a different label for each, so your files are not only organized inside the drive, but also out on your Gmail.

    All we need to do is append GMAILFS with the folder name ie: “GMAILFS: /mp3s/” filtered to a label called MP3s. There is no way to create a label hierarchy, so labels should be used more like tags.

    With Gmail Drive you can move existing files around into new folders. Keep in mind, a new email will be sent through for each change.

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    Bookmarking

    This hack relies on a site called RSSFWD.com or something like it. There you can forward any RSS feed to your email, without having to register. Each update will come through to your email with the feed’s post as it’s content.

    A handy way to keep all your bookmarks stored in Gmail – with the added benefit of Gmail’s search – is to use your bookmark’s feed through RSSFWD so all your bookmarks come through your Gmail.

    I use my del.icio.us account so each site I tag, will come through. All I really have to do is create a filter for anything from del.icio.us to be archived in a label called Bookmarks.

    The beauty here is, say I use a range of bookmarking sites, I can have all of them stored in one place.

    Organization or GTD

    There is already a Firefox extension called GTDinbox that implements GTD styled filters and organization within Gmail. You can send yourself tasks, keep track of outstanding tasks and even print HipsterPDA-friendly index cards. Also 43Folders suggested this kind of filtering back in 2004, so it’s not a new idea.

    However, it’s worth mentioning a few things that may not have been covered yet.

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    First of all, it should be mentioned that creating your own GTD Gmail is as simple as setting your labels [ToDo, Someday/Maybe, Projects etc] and creating filters using the username+ function.

    For example: Anything I send to username+todo@gmail.com will get filtered off to my ToDo list. Add information and links that may help the task and just delete tasks as they are completed.

    If you need a reminder for a future event or task, you can Add Event Info to any email and specify a date for the task to occur. If you have Notifications set to Email in your Google Calendar settings, you will be reminded to act on the email at that time.

    New Gmail Filter Hacks - Label Search

      Let’s look back at the RSSFWD program. We can integrate a lot of things with Gmail, as long as there is an RSS Feed.

      Twitter

      Try Twitter. It’s all the rage and has a feed.

      Create a Twitter account just for your tasks. Add it’s feed to RSSFWD and let it roll through the ToDo filter in your Gmail account. Now you can add tasks via IM and your mobile’s SMS straight to Gmail.

      If you preface each ‘Tweet’ with where you want it to go, in Gmail, you can organize your Twitter feed just by refining the parameters of your filter to include a keyword.

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      For example: “TODO email jack” through Twitter could go through a filter with “Twitter” and “Todo” as parameters.

      Flickr

      Your Flickr photos have a feed. Add a filter with the parameter From: ‘Your’ Photos and utilize Gmail’s search to find the photo you want.

      Want a family member or friend to know when you’ve added a new photo? You can forward emails within a filter to a particular email address. You’ll just need to create a new filter for each email you want to forward to.

      New Gmail Filter Hacks - Camera

        Also don’t forget you could just put any feed you like to read through RSSFWD, set it to send to username+anyfeed@gmail.com and create a filter for that email to forward to a label for anyfeed.

        Tip of the iceberg? Have some more interesting ways to use Gmail’s filters? We’d like to hear them.

        More by this author

        Craig Childs

        Craig is an editor and web developer who writes about happiness and motivation at Lifehack

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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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