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10 Must-Know Gmail Hacks To Supercharge Your Productivity

10 Must-Know Gmail Hacks To Supercharge Your Productivity

Gmail is a great option for individuals needing a powerful personal email. However, with the ability to attach Gmail to your domain, it has become a powerful email option for businesses as well. While Gmail alone may be great, there are a couple of ways you can supercharge your usage to make sure that you are getting the most out of your account. Today, we will take a look at 10 must-know Gmail hacks that will surely supercharge your productivity, either at home or in the office.

1. Undo a Past Email

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    Ever find that you typed up an email in a hurry, and sent it off only to notice right when you hit the send button that there were a couple of mistakes? Maybe you sent it to the wrong recipient. This is a common problem, and Gmail has a small settings hack that can prevent these mishaps from being permanent. Settings > Labs > Undo Button > Enable will allow you to click the “Undo” button once Gmail says “Your message has been sent” at the very top of the screen. Just hope that they don’t read it before you click undo! Another common tip I learned is to write out your full email, subject, add attachments and all, before adding in the recipient. Do that last and this will lessen the chance of sending to the wrong person.

    2. Make Use of Boomerang

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      Boomerang makes it easy to have emails sent back to you as well as to schedule to send emails of your account. This is a great way to prepare and send off a mass of emails in a snap. The latter can be useful, for instance, when you see an email that is important in your inbox but may not be something that you need to attend to until later in the day or week. This moves the conversation out of your way and allows you to focus on other things. Yesware and Streak and two other common email scheduling apps you can check out.

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      3. Clear out Your Inbox

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        Extending on the subject of email clutter, a great hack that can allow you to increase the productivity of your Gmail inbox is to clear out unnecessary emails. This is done by deleting those that you’ll never make use of again and archiving those that you may find that you will need to refer to at another date. If you have ongoing conversations currently in your email, keep those in the inbox. Otherwise, have them archived. From there, you can tag your archived messages to have them easily retrievable. Having tagged archives, in the end, is more productive than having a swamp of useless emails.

        4. Can Your Responses

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          This is a productive hack because it allows you to send off responses in just a snap by adding in common phrases, sentences, or even email bodies that you regularly find yourself using. Simply add Canned Responses from Gmail Labs and when you want to send off a canned response, go to the bottom, select canned responses and choose the appropriate phrase.

          5. Customize Your Address

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            One lesser-known fact about Gmail is that when someone sends an email to you, it doesn’t matter what periods or plus symbols are added to your name, they are sent to the same original email address. This is best illustrated in the photo above. You may feel that this doesn’t matter, the chances are low that someone will accidentally add a period or plus sign to my name when emailing me.

            However, that’s not the point. This hack is useful in allowing you to curtail emails you receive based on the address you give out. Going to a website where sign-up requiring your email, but you could care less about what they have to send you, you can use “username+junk@gmail.com”. Going to a corporate meet-and-greet and want an easy place to access emails from individuals you meet? Give everyone you meet the email “username+meetandgreet@gmail.com”. However, this alone isn’t what is productive. What is productive is creating a filter for each email address you give out, allowing messages to be sent to the folders for easier retrieval and organization.

            6. Schedule Your Email Checks

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              It can seem productive to always be on top of your email, checking it various times a day. However, the truth is, you are wasting more time than ever. Instead, schedule to check your email two -three times a day, during low activity times. Getting your head out of your inbox allows you to get more things done rather than balancing and tending to conversations that could be endless. This allows your emails you send to be more productive, to the point, and informative.

              7. Manage an Unsubscribe List

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                Through the program called Unroll.me, you are able to keep track of the email newsletters and subscriptions that are filling up your inbox. Through this program, you receive a “Rollup” that acts as a newsletter in and of itself, showing in one email all of the subscription emails you receive. Along with being able to view what needs to be viewed and get it out of the way, Unroll.me is also a great program to easily get rid of the junk subscriptions you may have but found too difficult to get rid of.

                8. Look into KeyRocket

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                  Keyboard shortcuts are a great way for you to access a specific feature or perform a specific task in only a couple of key strokes. KeyRocket for Gmail allows you to do the keyboard shortcuts available through Gmail by presenting how they are activated whenever you do a certain act. For example, if you are about to go view a previous folder, KeyRocket pops-up a reminder showing you how that task is possible through Alt+Left Arrow. Overtime, KeyRocket teaches you how to use Gmail productively.

                  9. Become Selective and Exclusive

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                    You may feel that you should respond to every email that you receive personally from an individual, either asking you to contribute to a project you weren’t previously involved in or to receive something else in return. However, in keeping with productivity, choose wisely who you respond to. For example, a blogger should look at the reputation and notoriety of a specific website before entertaining the thought of contributing. This, in the end, reduces the number of conversations you find yourself flooded in. This is a hack that many individuals find themselves constantly using.

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                    10. Create Some Recipes

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                      IFTTT stands for If this then that. It is an user-friendly algorithm website that allows individuals to connect two different services to create an automated task. Using a trigger, most likely in your case Gmail, you can cause an action to occur if you trigger does something. For example, if your trigger is when Gmail receives a photo in an email, you can have that photo automatically saved in Dropbox. The opportunities are endless, and you have free reign to make recipes yourself or enjoy some of the pre-made ones.

                      With these tips, you will be able to use your time wisely, get things done and become more productive in the process. Let us know in the comments below if you use any of these tips or services in your own Gmail.

                      Featured photo credit: Mashable via i1.ytimg.com

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                      Last Updated on November 5, 2019

                      5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

                      5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

                      Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

                      This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

                      Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

                      Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

                      Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

                      To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

                      What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

                      Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

                      LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

                      On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

                      Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

                      5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

                      There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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                      With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

                      Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

                      Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

                      1. Canvas Network

                      Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

                      Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

                      Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

                      To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

                      Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

                      Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

                      Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

                      The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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                      In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

                      Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

                      2. Google Classroom

                      This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

                      Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

                      Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

                      With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

                      Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

                      Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

                      3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

                      If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

                      Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

                      It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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                      Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

                      Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

                      Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

                      4. Absorb

                      This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

                      Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

                      Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

                      The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

                      Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

                      The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

                      Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

                      Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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                      5. Watershed Collaborative

                      Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

                      Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

                      While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

                      If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

                      Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

                      Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

                      Honorable Mentions

                      There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

                      Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

                      1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
                      2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
                      3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
                      4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
                      5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

                      Conclusion

                      There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

                      Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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