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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 How to Calm Down When You Are Overwhelmed: 7 Quick Ways to Try 2 Don’t Think You’re a Creative Person? You Can Definitely Change That 3 11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation 4 15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success 5 10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus and Creativity

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                          Last Updated on October 15, 2018

                          How to Calm Down When You Are Overwhelmed: 7 Quick Ways to Try

                          How to Calm Down When You Are Overwhelmed: 7 Quick Ways to Try

                          Do you sometimes feel that you add items to your to-do list faster than you tick them off? Do you spend most of your day worrying about your lack of time?

                          The truth is, no matter how much we love our job, or how productive we believe we are under stress, there comes a moment when the pressure rises above boiling point. The sheer number of urgent tasks multiplies in a geometric progression. New possibilities no longer sound inspiring, they sound overwhelming and equal more work.

                          If that’s where you are right now – keep reading! If not, it doesn’t mean you should wait until you get there to learn how to cope with a demanding work schedule and how to calm yourself down quickly when you feel overwhelmed.

                          Here are 7 quick and easy tips on how to calm down when you are overwhelmed:

                          1. Let go of a few activities

                          Yes, it’s that easy! Take a look at your to-do list and ask yourself, “If I don’t do it today, will it matter a month from now?”

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                          Not every urgent task is important. Just like not every important, high pay-off task is urgent. The best way to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed and to manage your time is to know the difference between the two and learn to simplify your life by getting your to-do list down to three big tasks.

                          2. Take deep breaths to calm down

                          This advice sounds so simple it’s often overlooked. But it works better (and faster) than any other relaxation technique out there.

                          There is a direct connection between our emotional state and breathing. An anxious, frustrated or overwhelmed person breathes as if they have just finished running a marathon. A calm person breathes differently. Their breathing is deep, slow and steady. So when you have a panic attack, the best way to bring your heart rate down and to regain your cool is to change your breathing.

                          Try this now:

                          Take a slow, long deep breath in, filling your lungs with air and expanding your diaphragm. Hold your breath for four counts and then slowly release the air through your mouth. Repeat four times and notice frustration and the feeling of being overwhelmed dissolve with each long exhale of these calming breaths.

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                          3. Make “Just one thing” your mantra

                          When we feel overwhelmed by the amount of tasks on our to-do list, it’s easy to enter the ‘deer in the headlights’ state. You see deadlines approaching directly towards you, and you know that something has to be done about them, but you just don’t know where to start.

                          The best way to get your mind out of an ‘inactivity trance’ is to create momentum. This is what makes the “Just one thing” mantra so powerful. It helps to change our expectation that everything has to be completed right now, “or else.”

                          Next time you feel overwhelmed make grabbing a cup of coffee your “Just one thing.” You can do it, right? Then come back, pick one of the smallest tasks on your to-do list and tell yourself you’ll do just that one task. This is your next “Just one thing” that you will concentrate on until it’s complete. After that you can move on to the next task and so on.

                          It’s not “One thing at a time.” Saying this implies that there is a huge line of other tasks waiting to get done and that’s not the message you want to keep repeating to yourself. Learn how to focus here and stop getting overwhelmed.

                          4. Reduce the multi-tasking and multi-thinking

                          It’s been proven that multi-tasking is very inefficient, to the point of dumbing us down (more than smoking marijuana does). The same is true for multi-thinking, when your mind frantically jumps from one thought to another, trying to focus on and analyze several things all at once.

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                          Fortunately, there is help. A few minutes of meditation or brainwave music is all it takes to start feeling more relaxed, more creative and less overwhelmed.

                          5. Get moving

                          Any exercise you engage in – be it walking or dancing to your favorite beat – helps to release endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ hormones, through your body and to clear your mind.

                          Staying active also increases your productivity, enhances your ability to combat stress and anxiety. It also helps you to release the tension, boosting your mood and changing the thoughts that induce the sense of being overwhelmed.

                          The best part is you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the mind-soothing benefits of exercise. Even as little as 15 minutes of dancing or jogging can go a long way towards making you feel better and staying calmer.

                          6. Change your surroundings

                          We all need and deserve to take vacations from work woes and family responsibilities. Unfortunately, spending two weeks lazing on a beach, toes in the sand and a Mojito in hand, is not always an option. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t take short ‘vacations’ from work stress and the technology buzz.

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                          Go outside for a few minutes and enjoy the sunshine. Stop at a park instead of driving straight home from work. Sometimes changing your surroundings and ‘spicing up your routine’ is all it takes to change your perspective on things and find creative solutions to seemingly complex and overwhelming problems.

                          7. Get some pet therapy

                          Studies have shown what most of us already guessed – our pets can be a great help during stressful moments. Simple actions such as petting or playing with your dog or cat can lower high blood pressure, boost your immune system and boost your mood.

                          Besides, pets can make the best conversation partners to share your frustrations with. They listen, they love you unconditionally and they never talk back or say, “I told you so.”

                          Final thoughts

                          Don’t wait for stress to hit you to start practicing these quick ways to calm down when you are overwhelmed. The best way to enjoy a worry-free life is not to push yourself to the limit of being overwhelmed and frustrated.

                          Featured photo credit: Dardan via unsplash.com

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