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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 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.

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                        Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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