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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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                          Last Updated on August 21, 2018

                          8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                          8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                          You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

                          Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

                          When you train your brain, you will:

                          • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
                          • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. Hello promotion, here I come!
                          • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

                          So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

                          1. Work your memory

                          Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

                          When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

                          If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

                          The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

                          Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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                          Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

                          What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

                          For example, say you just met someone new.

                          “Hi, my name is George”

                          Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.” Got it? Good.

                          2. Do something different repeatedly

                          By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

                          Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

                          It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

                          And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

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                          But how does this apply to your life right now?

                          Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

                          Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

                          Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

                          So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

                          You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

                          That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

                          3. Learn something new

                          It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

                          For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

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                          Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

                          You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

                          4. Follow a brain training program

                          The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

                          5. Work your body

                          You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

                          Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

                          Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

                          Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

                          6. Spend time with your loved ones

                          If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

                          If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

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                          I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

                          7. Avoid crossword puzzles

                          Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

                          Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

                          Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

                          8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

                          Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

                          When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

                          So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

                          Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

                          Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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