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15 Awesome Gmail Plugins To Boost Your Email Productivity

15 Awesome Gmail Plugins To Boost Your Email Productivity

How many hours do we spend in front of the computer every day? Not only does it negatively affect our health and fitness, but we often don’t have much to show for it. A lot of the time is spent on work, sure, but it is very easy to get sidetracked and procrastinate. Before you know it it’s been two hours and you have yet to respond to several important emails and finish up a project that’s uncomfortably near its deadline.

The sad thing is that a lot of people actually put in the work, but still fail to keep up with all their tasks because their email accounts are in a perpetual state of chaos. In this era of compromised online security and tons of spam mail and viruses going around, the need for secure and well-managed email accounts is greater than ever. For this purpose, I have compiled a list of the best Gmail plugins for boosting your productivity and cutting down the time you spend managing your email accounts.

1. Bananatag

Bananatag

    For both private and business purposes knowing if people are actually reading your mails or not can be very important. You don’t want to waste time waiting on a reply that will never come, and this is where Bananatag really comes in handy. You can pick specific emails that you want to track and get information on whether or not people are opening them and clicking on the links inside. You get notifications in your email when these actions are taken, so you can have a good insight into what different contacts do with your emails, gauge which ones are the most receptive and then target your efforts and build strong connections. You get professional functionality, with detailed metrics presented in graphs, in an easy to use and completely free package.

    2. SecureGmail

    SecureGmail

      Most of us are aware of just how much our information is vulnerable online. Someone gaining access to our personal information can wreak all sorts of havoc, used it to stalk us or just keep tabs on us. If you have an issue with outsiders getting hold of your personal information – be it rival companies, the government or hackers up to no good – then SecureGmail is an excellent little tool for you. You can quickly install it and use it to send encrypted emails. Even Google servers will only see the encrypted version of the text. Only the person who the email was intended for can decrypt the message using a password that you have agreed on. Of course you should make it a complex password and share it with the recipient through means other than email.

      3. Gmail Snooze

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      Gmail snooze

        At first, GmailSnooze might seem like a weird concept – after all you can just delete emails or leave them and read them later. However, when you think about it, how many times have you read an email, made a mental note to respond to it later and gotten side-tracked by a ton of different emails and projects? With the snooze feature installed you can temporarily remove a certain email from your inbox, while you deal with more pressing matters, and have it show up as the latest message in your inbox after a day, week or any other time you specify. It can help you stay in touch with colleagues and business associates, and serves as a good reminder of important upcoming events.

        4. CloudMagic

        Cloud magic

          Being more productive often comes down to quickly and efficiently searching your inbox for important emails and back-and-forth conversation that hide important bits of information. You know they are there somewhere – you just need to get to them. CloudMagic provides a fast and effective email search as you type function that allows you to preview email conversation, prioritize the most important ones and even receive follow-up reminders. It is unobtrusive, nestled in the upper right corner of the page, and keeps your search results open as you click through your inbox or compose new messages, allowing you crosscheck and share information more efficiently. You can even search information from a number of different accounts.

          5. Boomerang

          Boomerang

            Sending a truckload of emails every single day means that sometimes you forget about a business proposal you sent or an important question you’ve asked someone. The mail is sent, there still no reply and it’s easy to completely forget about it. You may even forget to send a reply yourself now and then. With Boomerang you can prepare emails and schedule them to be sent at a specified date in the future, as well as get reminders if there was no reply to one of your emails after a specified amount of time.

            6. FollowUp CC

            FollowUp CC

              To add to the functionality of plugins like Snooze or Boomerang, FollowUp CC lets you create polite little follow up emails to be sent to those who haven’t given you a reply. You can have these emails sent after a certain amount of time or at a specific date, e.g. after one week if it’s not a pressing matter or on the day before a deadline is due. You can get fairly specific by adding the exact time. There is also a bookmark reminder option that reminds you of a specific web page after a certain amount of time. The basic version with 25 reminders per month is free, but there are several other plans available for serious users.

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              7. Rapportive

              Rapportive

                If you are looking to create stronger connections with the people you are emailing, Rapportive will be an important tool for you. Once you set it up it shows up as a sidebar in Gmail and allows you to access basic information about the person. You can see a small image of them with some of their personal details, like current job and the city they live in. It also allows you to connect with them through social media by showing you links to their accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn along with their profile pictures. This way you can quickly get acquainted with a new client or associate or start networking and even building online friendships.

                8. Taskforce

                Taskforce

                  For all those who are looking to get organized and break everything down into clear tasks Taskforce is just the right tool. It allows you to designate specific tasks and keep all the necessary information in one place, all within Gmail and for free. This means no more searching through emails, opening multiple tabs and copying bits and pieces of information from several different apps and programs. You can add different people to a list of collaborators for each task, and that way everyone stays updated on the progress and any changes. You can add people who don’t have Taskforce and have them receive regular email updates.

                  9. Unroll.me

                  Unroll me

                    During the course of the day you’ll end up clicking on God knows what, and there will be plenty of requests to subscribe to a newsletter. These messages can make an unholy mess in your inbox and obscure the few updates you really want to check out. Unroll.me is an extremely quick and easy way to manage these subscriptions and cut loose from the ones you have no need for. It scans your inbox and provides you with a simple visual interface where you can click to block all messages from any specific website on a list of your current subscriptions.

                    10. The Swizzle

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                    Swizzle

                      A similar, but a bit more in-depth way of dealing with your newsletter and promotional clutter, The Swizzle lets you unsubscribe from the things you don’t need and organize a custom daily digest form the ones you decide to keep. This way you can get one big email with the different promotions and updates that you want, leaving your inbox clean and organized.

                      11. Checker Plus

                      Checker Plus

                        For those looking for a good way to manage multiple email accounts, Checker Plus is a true godsend. It allows you to label and monitor important emails, get notifications with user photos and can even be set up to read your emails out loud to you if you are busy. You can run it independent of your browser and get new email alerts even if it is closed. There are a number of additional useful features and the developer offers excellent customer support and regular updates.

                        12. Active Inbox

                        ActiveInbox

                          Another quick solution for busy people who want to become more organized, the ActiveInbox transforms your inbox into a functional task manager within seconds. You can choose which accounts to use it on – e.g. use it for your official business account and not on your private one – and get started in moments. Emails can be assigned to a specific project with ease and you also get a menu with the labels “action”, “waiting on” and “some day” that you can assign to various projects to prioritize them. If you opt for the paid version you’ll also get the ability to write notes, categorize tasks and set deadlines.

                          13. WiseStamp

                          WiseStamp

                            Giving a bit of a personal touch to your emails in the form of a signature that appears with each email is something that can serve you well for both business and personal purposes. WiseStamp gives you that little bit extra in terms of designing your own unique signature, complete with an image, basic information and links to social media, as well as cool additional features like your last Tweet or Facebook status. It makes things elegant and unobtrusive, while at the same time providing all the most important information on who you are as a person or professional with every email you send.

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                            14. Key Rocket

                            KeyRocket

                              There is a lot of Gmail users out there, me being one, that aren’t aware of all the great little keyboard shortcuts that can help you cut down the time spend managing your emails by a small, but noticeable amount. Key Rocket strives to fix this by bombarding you with little pop ups every time you click on an option that you could have just used a shortcut for. Each pop up message contains a specific shortcut and after a while, through the sheer power of annoying the hell out of you, it will help you learn them all by heart, thus making you a little bit faster and more efficient.

                              15. Mail Timer for Gmail

                              Mail Timer

                                Whether it’s the end of a busy day and you’re just hovering over the last email that you need to send before heading home or you tend to wonder off mid-sentence when composing emails all too often, a tool like the Mail Timer can help you stay focused. You choose how much time you want to spend with each email and set the timer, which, when the time is up, lets you know that you need to move on.  It is incredibly simple and yet incredibly effective.

                                If you are anything like me, chances are you are spending entirely too much time looking your inbox and composing new emails. By using some of these great Gmail plugins, most of which are free and can be set up quickly and easily, you will be able to significantly improve your productivity and save yourself a lot of time and work.

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                                Published on October 9, 2018

                                Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

                                Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

                                Note-taking is useful in helping improve your memory and increase your productivity at work. By writing down notes, you have something tangible you can refer back to, remember what needs to be done, and regain control of your work throughout the day.

                                There are thousands of different note-taking apps you can use on your desktop or mobile device. The two most popular are Evernote and Microsoft OneNote because they are incredibly efficient and effective that each has a following of extremely loyal users and advocates.

                                So if it comes to Evernote vs OneNote, how do they improve productivity?

                                An overview of Evernote and OneNote

                                First, an introduction to the two platforms. Evernote is an app that lets you store content, take down notes, write lists, and organize all of them. While these are stored in Notebooks, the whole concept behind this productivity app is more like a Universal Inbox where you can save everything you’ve collected so you can quickly find it when you need them through the use of tags.

                                Microsoft’s OneNote, on the other hand, works very much like a digital version of the notebooks you used to carry around in school. Aside from storing all your notes and different types of content you’ve collected, you can also organize them into sections, pages, and containers.

                                Each of these apps offers their users a host of features to help them improve their productivity and memory. Also, because no app is perfect, each also has their strengths and limitations.

                                To get a better idea of which app will be your best choice, we’ll be comparing the two based on three key features most used by their users: collecting information, note-taking, and mobility.

                                Collecting information

                                Both the OneNote and Evernote come with their own web clipper extension that allows you to quickly collect and store information from different websites as you find them.

                                Both give you the option to choose whether you’d like to save the entire web page as is, a simplified version without the ads, or just a section of the page. You can also add some notes before saving them to make it easier for you to remember why you “clipped” that particular resource.

                                Since OneNote gives you more structure to organize your content, its web clipper allows you to choose not just which notebook to save the details, but also what section within the notebook.

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                                  Source: OneNote.com

                                  Evernote gives you the option to add tags to your web clippings before you save it, so it’s easier for you to search for it later.

                                  Premium users get access to Evernote’s Related Results feature located in its Options section. When you search on Google, Evernote will launch a secondary search that will show all the notes related to the keyword you used in searching for information.

                                    Source: Zapier.com

                                    This feature, according to Jeremy Skillings, President of Youcanbefound.com, is beneficial because it lets you know what information you already have stored in your notes.

                                    “In some cases whenever I do my research, I find out through this feature that I already have the exact information I need stored in my Evernote account. That alone cuts back a significant amount of the time I spend on projects.”

                                    Note-taking

                                    Both of these productivity apps allow you to create and format your notes to create rich documents. Among these features include changing the font size and color, adding tables, and inserting media files.

                                    Evernote’s note-taking features are very similar to a Word document in that it’s very structured concerning how you input your notes.

                                      Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbert of RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

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                                      While he enjoyed the features, his personal experience with using it in the field revealed that the formatting features,“mean that if you need to change parts of your notes around, it can get tedious”. He continued, “the formatting features are quite finicky, so you may need a bit of patience to get the end results you are looking for.”

                                      Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbertof RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

                                      Structuring your notes properly from the get-go can have an effect on your productivity. A blank slate can sometimes be puzzling. Evernote allows the ability to use battle-tested templates and workflows that save you time. They can provide inspiration and structure on what’s possible.

                                      On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way notes are created. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                                      On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way you create your notes. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                                        Source: Lifehacker

                                        Also, it gives you the option to create Templates that you can use to layout your page properly, so all you’ll need to do is to fill in the information.

                                          Source: MakeUseOf

                                          This is a particularly handy feature that stood out to many of the people who shared their love of OneNote with me. Steve Lionais, longtime user and Co-Founder & CEO of Dr-Bill.ca, claims that this feature helped him build his business by affecting his memory in a powerful and helpful way.

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                                          “This [feature] is what makes OneNote great memory retention app,” he said of the templates. “I find that I remember things more when they are arranged in a certain way. OneNote allowed me to do that for my meeting and presentation notes, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the next point!”

                                          However, what really makes OneNote the winner of this round is its ability to allow you to embed media files from other sources like Youtube. In addition to including the link, OneNote launches a media player, allowing you to watch the video or listen to the audio file directly from the page where you saved it.

                                            Source: Windows Central

                                            Mobility

                                            Evernote and OneNote can be used both on desktops and mobile devices. At the same time, they provide their users with the ability to sync the content from one device to the other.

                                            Judging which of the two productivity apps is best here is quite tricky because it greatly depends on several factors. One of these is the operating software you use.

                                            Many of the power users we asked were using iOS, and that put some points toward Evernote. Greg Reese of AmeriEstate.com found himself frequently using the built-in camera option (and other iOS integrations) to manage his daily duties as President.

                                              Evernote’s camera also integrates with Post-It, Moleskin notebook pages, and business cards. When you take a photo of any of these, the camera will capture the information and format this for Evernote so that it’s quick to find it when you search.

                                              OneNote, on the other hand, dominates the Android environment. In addition to the app, Android users will also find a OneNote floating badge on the side of the home screen. So you can take notes on the go very quickly.

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                                                Source: MS Power User

                                                Another factor to consider is the cloud storage you use. For you to sync OneNote across different devices, you’ll need to first set up an account with OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s cloud storage service.

                                                “This is something that Evernote users like me don’t have to worry about,” according to Matt Willens, Head Attorney for Willens Law Offices. “Whether you use a free account or one of their paid plans, you can immediately sync your devices without having to get a separate cloud storage account.”

                                                The drawback here is the amount of storage and number of devices that you can sync. Free users are only given 60MB of storage space and can sync up to two devices. If you need more storage space, you’ll have to get the paid plans.

                                                Which app is better for improving memory and productivity?

                                                The honest—and most straightforward—answer is:

                                                It depends on you.

                                                While Evernote and OneNote have their strengths and weaknesses, how well it will help improve productivity and memory greatly depends on what works best for you.

                                                If you find that you’re able to work best and remember things more using visual cues, OneNote will be the best productivity app to use. However, if you consider the speed and ease of finding the information you need as your top priority, Evernote will be your best option.

                                                Since both productivity apps have free versions, you can give both a try and see where you’re most comfortable. In the end, the right productivity app to use is one that complements the way you work and do things rather than dictating to you how you should get them done.

                                                Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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