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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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                          1 10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader 2 Why Perspective Taking Is an Essential Skill for Success 3 How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve Success 4 How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates) 5 How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

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                          Last Updated on June 3, 2020

                          How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates)

                          How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates)

                          Everyone needs a goal. Whether it’s in a business context or for personal development, having goals help you strive towards something you want to accomplish. It prevents you from wandering around aimlessly without a purpose.

                          But there are good ways to write goals and there are bad ways. If you want to ensure you’re doing the former, keep reading to find out how a SMART goals template can help you with it.

                          The following video is a summary of how you can write SMART goals effectively:

                          What Are SMART Goals?

                          SMART Goals

                          refer to a way of writing down goals that follow a specific criteria. The earliest known use of the term was by George T. Doran in the November 1981 issue of Management Review, however, it is often associated with Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept.[1]

                          SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. There are other variations where certain letters stand for other things such as “achievable” instead of attainable, and “realistic” instead of relevant.

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                          What separates a SMART goal from a non-SMART goal is that, while a non-SMART goal can be vague and ill-defined, a SMART goal is actionable and can get you results. It sets you up for success and gives you a clear focus to work towards.

                          And with SMART goals comes a SMART goals template. So, how do you write according to this template?

                          How to Write Smart Goals Using a SMART Goals Template

                          For every idea or desire to come to fruition, it needs a plan in place to make it happen. And to get started on a plan, you need to set a goal for it.

                          The beauty of writing goals according to a SMART goals template is that it can be applied to your personal or professional life.

                          If it’s your job to establish goals for your team, then you know you have a lot of responsibility weighing on your shoulders. The outcome of whether or not your team accomplishes what’s expected of them can be hugely dependant on the goals you set for them. So, naturally, you want to get it right.

                          On a personal level, setting goals for yourself is easy, but actually following through with them is the tricky part. According to a study by Mark Murphy about goal setting, participants who vividly described their goals were 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully achieve their goals.[2] Which goes to show that if you’re clear about your goals, you can have a higher chance of actually accomplishing them.

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                          Adhering to a SMART goals template can help you with writing clear goals. So, without further ado, here’s how to write SMART goals with a SMART goals template:

                          Specific

                          First and foremost, your goal has to be specific. Be as clear and concise as possible because whether it’s your team or yourself, whoever has to carry out the objective needs to be able to determine exactly what it is they are required to do.

                          To ensure your goal is as specific as it can be, consider the Ws:

                          • Who = who is involved in executing this goal?
                          • What = what exactly do I want to accomplish?
                          • Where = if there’s a fixed location, where will it happen?
                          • When = when should it be done by? (more on deadline under “time-bound”)
                          • Why = why do I want to achieve this?

                          Measurable

                          The only way to know whether or not your goal was successful is to ensure it is measurable. Adding numbers to a goal can help you or your team weigh up whether or not expectations were met and the outcome was triumphant.

                          For example, “Go to the gym twice a week for the next six months” is a stronger goal to strive for than simply, “Go to the gym more often”.

                          Setting milestone throughout your process can also help you to reassess progress as you go along.

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                          Attainable

                          The next important thing to keep in mind when using a SMART goals template is to ensure your goal is attainable. It’s great to have big dreams but you want your goals to be within the realms of possibility, so that you have a higher chance of actually accomplishing them.

                          But that doesn’t mean your goal shouldn’t be challenging. You want your goal to be achievable while at the same time test your skills.

                          Relevant

                          For obvious reasons, your goal has to be relevant. It has to align with business objectives or with your personal aspirations or else, what’s the point of doing it?

                          A SMART goal needs to be applicable and important to you, your team, or your overall business agenda. It needs to be able to steer you forward and motivate you to achieve it, which it can if it holds purpose to something you believe in.

                          Time-Bound

                          The last factor of the SMART goals template is time-bound (also known as “timely”). Your goal needs a deadline, because without one, it’s less likely to be accomplished.

                          A deadline provides a sense of urgency that can motivate you or your team to strive towards the end. The amount of time you allocate should be realistic. Don’t give yourself—or your team—only one week if it takes three weeks to actually complete it. You want to set a challenge but you don’t want to risk over stress or burn out.

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                          Benefits of Using a SMART Goals Template

                          Writing your goals following a SMART goals template provides you with a clearer focus. It communicates what the goal needs to achieve without any fuss.

                          With a clear aim, it can give you a better idea of what success is supposed to look like. It also makes it easier to monitor progress, so you’re aware whether or not you’re on the right path.

                          It can also make it easier to identify bottlenecks or missed targets while you’re delivering the goal. This gives you enough time to rectify any problems so you can get back on track.

                          The Bottom Line

                          Writing goals is seemingly not a difficult thing to do. However, if you want it to be as effective as it can be, then there’s more to it than meets the eye.

                          By following a SMART goals template, you can establish a more concrete foundation of goal setting. It will ensure your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound—attributes that cover the necessities of an effectively written goal.

                          More Tips About Goals Setting

                          Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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