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12 Gmail Plugins to Boost Productivity

12 Gmail Plugins to Boost Productivity

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What’s your favorite Gmail plugin or service to increase email productivity and efficiency?

1. Rapportive

    I love using Rapportive to get some (publicly available) background info on the person who has just emailed me. With so many colleagues, clients and contacts, it’s great to place the email with a name, face, business and social media presence.

    Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

    2. Send & Archive

      In Gmail’s Labs section, you’ll find a free add-on called Send & Archive, and it’s a godsend when it comes to keep your inbox neat and tidy. Every time you reply to an email, you can just hit this button. It will send the email and archive the thread so it’s not clogging up your inbox. I couldn’t do email without it!

      Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool

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      3. Ecquire

        Ecquire is my new favorite addition to my email inbox. The tool allows me to send my emails and contacts into our CRM system with just one click from my inbox. It saves a lot of time, and it helps our whole team get on the same page about our customers.

        Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

        4. Boomerang

          I love having the ability to schedule an email to be sent later on a specific time or day. Boomerang also helps keep track of important messages by bringing them back into my inbox, and reminds me when I need to follow-up, which is extremely helpful when it comes to media and client relations, particularly when folks are in different time zones.

          Heather Huhman, Come Recommended

          5. Email Game

            The software company, Baydin, recently created a really great email tool that I use everyday now. It’s called Email Game, and it sounds a lot less professional than it really is. In a nutshell, it serves all of your emails, in chronological order, one-by-one as quickly as possible for you to respond to. In doing so, you are battling against a clock and earning points for time that you save.

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            Logan Lenz, Endagon

            6. KeyRocket

              KeyRocket for Gmail displays the keyboard shortcuts for your actions in a pretty, simple way — a subtle way of forcing you to learn them and move (roughly) a trillion times faster in your inbox.

              Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

              7. Unroll.me

                Cutting down on newsletters is a never ending task. With Unroll.me you can unsubscribe from a huge chunk of newsletters in one go, which ultimately will save you a ton of time.

                Ben Lang, EpicLaunch

                8. Dropbox

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                  I use the free email account Dropbox gives you to send emails from lists. Then, it’s all in once nice folder I can rifle through each morning instead of clogging up my main inbox.

                  Sam Davidson, Cool People Care, Inc.

                  9. FollowUp

                    FollowUp lets me set reminders as simply as sending an email (for example, by bcc’ing 1week@followu p.cc). It also integrates with my calendar. This service allows me to rest assured that I’ll receive reminders/follow-ups later in my email and can keep my current inbox neat and organized. I’ve developed many tricks to enhance this tool for my needs too!

                    Jesse Pujji, Ampush|social

                    10. ActiveInbox

                      I like ActiveInbox because it turns my emails into actions and allows me to manage my messages better. It’s instant organization of something that can easily spiral out of control!

                      DC Fawcett, Paramount Digital Publishing

                      11. Auto-Advance

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                        If you like to power through a lot of emails at once, this tool in Gmail Labs is huge. When you finish sending an email, rather than taking you back to your inbox, it just takes you to the next email in your inbox. No longer do you have to search through and decide what to respond to next. It forces me to take some action on my messages and has dramatically cut down on email response time.

                        Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC

                        12. Canned Responses

                          Google Labs has a cool, simple tool called Canned Responses. You can save a form email and then insert that into fu ture correspondences as appropriate. This has helped us manage our hiring process, our customer service needs and even some investor discussions. Put in the deep thought and refine your messaging once, saving you time in all future similar situations.

                          Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

                          Featured photo credit: Plug Outlet via Shutterstock

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                          Published on October 14, 2019

                          10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques for the Overwhelmed

                          10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques for the Overwhelmed

                          Do you constantly feel overwhelmed by the amount of tasks you have to complete at work? If so, then it may be time to look into some organizational skills training techniques.

                          Organizational skills are an asset. They allow you to add structure to your day so that you meet deadlines, attend every meeting, and even have enough time to take your breaks (imagine that!). As transferable skills, they can also add value to your personal life.

                          So, if being organized and able to perform at your very best at work, even when you’re inundated with duties, sounds appealing to you, then read on.

                          Why You Need Organizational Skills Training

                          According to the Cambridge Dictionary, organizational skills refers to:[1]

                          “the ability to use your time, energy, resources, etc. in an effective way so that you achieve the things you want to achieve.”

                          When you’re feeling overwhelmed at work (or anywhere really) achieving anything seems impossible. This is why organizational skills training is crucial. The skills you learn can help you to overcome the feeling of defeat so you can take command of your tasks again.

                          The Benefits of Organizational Skills

                          Having organizational skills allow you to not only be more organized, but to also be more productive and more effective. You’ll have greater control of your tasks and be able to accomplish more things. It can also reduce stress-levels, and experiencing less stress means leading a healthier lifestyle.

                          Examples of organizational skills include:

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                          As previously mentioned, while a major benefit for the workplace, they are also valuable in your personal life.

                          Think about it, our personal lives are also filled with many tasks and activities. Whether it’s going to the bank or buy groceries, or doing household duties such as vacuuming or taking out the trash, each responsibility is basically a task that needs to be completed in order for our home lives to run as smoothly as possible.

                          How to Learn Organizational Skills

                          Many businesses and organizations provide organizational skills training, whether it’s a workshop, company presentation, online training course, or an all-out conference. Attending these events is a great start to learning organizational skills. Then, of course, you can set your own goals.

                          For most people, organizational skills don’t come naturally. However, fortunately, just like any other skill, they’re learnable. Once you acquire an understanding of a skill, the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at it.

                          If you’re completely new to all of this, your best bet is to start small. Set yourself one goal, select one thing you’d like to improve on, and repeat it regularly until it becomes a habit. Once you’re confident in maintaining the habit, you can add to your goal or expand on it.

                          Starting small and gradually adding as you progress is a good course of action, as it can ensure that you actually achieve what you set out to accomplish. If you dive straight into the deep end, you risk being even more overwhelmed than before and may fail to meet expectations completely.

                          Surrounding yourself with people that have particular behaviors is another way to learn organizational skills. Having a super organized team leader, manager, or head of business can greatly influence your own actions and behavior.

                          10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques

                          If you’ve noticed yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed at work recently, then perhaps you could try out one of the following organizational skills training techniques. They could help you to get back control, focus on your tasks, and reduce stress-levels.

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                          1. Make a List

                          If you’re feeling swamped with tasks, creating a to-do list is great for taking back control of the things you need to do.

                          By writing down your tasks in order of importance (make sure you prioritize your list!), you’ll have a visualization of what needs to get done.

                          You’ll also get to experience the feeling of great relief when you get to cross a task off your to-do list when it’s completed!

                          2. Don’t Rely on Your Memory

                          Even if you have superhuman memory, it’s always a good idea to write everything down.

                          From project deadlines, to customer details, to product prices, writing things down can serve as a reminder so you don’t forget the important things when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

                          And with most of us carrying around smartphones, you’re never far from a tool where you can write something down.

                          3. Schedule

                          A huge part of being organized is knowing how to plan, and expert planning involves a lot of scheduling.

                          Scheduling is taking a step further than creating a to-do list. Not only do you have the things you need to do recorded, but you have a timetable when you should complete them. This helps you to develop your time management skills as you’re expected to coordinate tasks and activities so that deadlines are met and everything is done on time.

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                          4. Learn to Delegate

                          Learning to delegate tasks is a valuable skill that will help to keep you organized. Not only will it lighten your workload, but it will sharpen your planning and prioritization skills as you will have to learn which tasks should be done by you and which tasks are okay to be given to someone else.

                          5. Avoid Multitasking

                          While the idea of attempting to do more than one task simultaneously may seem brilliant, in practice, it’s the complete opposite. Multitasking is known to actually lower your productivity as it diminishes your focus and attention and things become more difficult and take longer to complete.

                          6. Minimize Interruptions

                          It’s impossible to control every aspect of your environment but it doesn’t hurt to try. By minimizing interruptions while you’re at work, it gives you a better chance of completing them as effectively and efficiently as possible.

                          Investing in noise-cancelling headphones or installing a social media block on your desktop are examples of ways you could reduce distractions.

                          7. Reduce Clutter

                          A notable organizational skills training technique is to create a filing system for your documents. Whether it’s at work or at home, we all accumulate documents that we may not currently need but are too afraid to throw away in case we will need it in the future.

                          Having an organized system can allow you to locate necessary documents any time you need them. It also keeps them safeguarded which reduces the chance of losing something important. This filing system applies to both actual paperwork and digital documents.

                          8. Organize Your Workspace

                          Where we work greatly influences how we work. If you have a cluttered and messy workspace, then the chances of you working in an unorganized fashion can be very high.

                          Keeping an organized workspace ensures that you’re able to perform at your most productive. You won’t waste time looking for things that have been misplaced and working in a clutter-free environment can be soothing for your mind.

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                          9. Get Rid of What You Don’t Need

                          Clutter is known to lead to stress and anxiety.[2] If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, then the sight of clutter can increase that feeling.

                          Getting rid of things you no longer need clears out your environment and, hopefully, your mind as well.

                          Done with that sticky-note? Throw it away! Inbox is filled to the brim with unread emails? Unsubscribe to newsletters you no longer read! Whatever you no longer require in your physical and digital life, get rid of it.

                          Here’s a guide to help you declutter: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

                          10. Tidy up Regularly

                          While working, it can get easy for your desk to get untidy. You’re focused on work and so keeping everything at your desk in order is probably a lower priority. But it’s something to be conscious of. Doing a regular tidy up can ensure the mess on your desk doesn’t go overboard.

                          Whether it’s a quick clean up every day, or a deep clean every month. Being aware of tidying up and fitting it into your routine will help keep you organized and less stressed.

                          The Bottom Line

                          Possessing organizational skills enables you to get back control of your tasks when you’re feeling overwhelmed and perform better at work. They can make you more productive, more efficient, and of course, more organized.

                          Remember, they’re not only valuable at work! Because of their transferability, they can be beneficial in other areas of your life. And really, it doesn’t hurt to be organized at home and socially, as well as at work.

                          Featured photo credit: Jeff Sheldon via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1] Cambridge Dictionary: Organizational Skills
                          [2] Psychology Today: Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies

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