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12 Gmail Plugins to Boost Productivity

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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 September 21, 2021

                          How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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                          How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

                          The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

                          In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

                          1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

                          Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

                          But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

                          Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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                          Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

                          Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

                          While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

                          Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

                          2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

                          At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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                          Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

                          Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

                          Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

                          McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

                          From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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                          3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

                          An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

                          McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

                          Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

                          Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

                          Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

                          So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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                          The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

                          If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

                          Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

                          Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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