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5 Lesser Known Gmail Tips and Hacks

5 Lesser Known Gmail Tips and Hacks

Gmail has been through a lot of changes lately, and you may be left wondering how you can get back in control of your inbox. Here are some little-known Gmail tips and hacks to help you master your email workflow!

1. Create your own alias-based filtering

Gmail doesn’t technically provide aliases unless you’re using Gmail to view and respond to emails sent to your own registered domain email (for example, me@sophielizard.com). But it does allow you to set up aliases using plus signs or dots in your email address.

So “sophielizard@gmail.com” and “sophie.lizard@gmail.com” will both go to the same inbox, as will “sophielizard+contests@gmail.com” and “sophielizard+money@gmail.com”.

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Once you’ve chosen a few aliases, set up filtering within Gmail by going to Settings > Filters.

You could create one that redirects all messages to “sophielizard+contests@gmail.com” to the spam folder but stars all messages to “sophielizard+money@gmail.com”, for example. Or automatically label messages by choosing Settings > Labels and creating a few useful labels for different things, then using filters to label messages to “sophie.lizard@gmail.com” as “Family” and messages to “sophielizard@gmail.com” as “Business”.

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Using filters in Gmail

    Then all you need to do is give the appropriate version of your email address to different people and your messages will be filtered and labelled for you when they arrive.

    2. Save time with keyboard shortcuts

    If you access your Gmail via a laptop or desktop computer with a keyboard (rather than a touchscreen device) you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate and manage your messages so that you don’t waste time moving your hands from keyboard to mouse to keyboard again. There’s a full list of the many shortcuts here, some of which you have to enable in Gmail’s settings before they’ll work, but the most useful ones to start with are:

    • n for next and p for previous, which will move you through a multi-message conversation in chronological or reverse chronological order.
    • Ctrl + Enter to send the message you’re composing.

    3. Get extra tools from Google Labs

    Within your Gmail settings, there’s a tab marked “Labs”. Click on that tab and you can add a range of tools people have built to work with Gmail.

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    Using Labs in Gmail

      There’s a tool called Canned Responses that lets you save messages you send often and insert them into your Gmail composition with just a couple of clicks. Another, Undo Send, gives you the ability to recall a message up to a few seconds after you hit Send—handy if you spotted a mistake just after sending. There’s even a tool that lets you set your own custom keyboard shortcuts in case the ones Google provides aren’t right for you.

      4. Use Labels in full color

      To speed up your brain’s ability to recognize and select the emails you need, create Labels for your Gmail messages and then set a different color for each label. Once your business emails are labelled in red, your friends and family’s messages in green and your financial transaction receipts in blue, for example, it’ll be much easier to scan your inbox visually and find what you’re looking for.

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      5. Use Tasks to connect your emails and to-do lists

      When you get an email that requires an action from you, and you don’t intend to act on it right away, look up at the menu bar above your emails. If you’re in the reading view, you’ll see a button marked “More”. If you’re in your inbox list view, you’ll need to check the box to the left of the relevant item to make the More button appear.

      Using Google Tasks in Gmail

        When you click that More button, you’ll be offered a drop-down list of options. Select “Add to Tasks” and a Google Tasks to-do list will pop up at the bottom of your screen with the subject line of the email added as a to-do list item. Edit the to-do text and add a due date if you like. The great thing about this way of adding to your to-do list is that each item in your list that’s related to an email in your Gmail will automatically include a link back to the email so that you can easily remind yourself of the task’s details.

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        Last Updated on August 29, 2018

        5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

        5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

        Journaling is one of the most useful personal development tools around. Not only does it help us process emotions and experiences, work through internal conflicts and improve our self-awareness, it also provides us with a way to keep a day-to-day record of our lives. Traditionally an activity limited to pen and paper, the expansion of consumer technology has enabled journaling to go digital.

        Saving your journaling entries online enables you to access them from anywhere, without having to carry a notebook and pen around, and provides you with digital features, like tagging and search functions.

        Here are a list of five online journaling tools you can use to bring your practice into the modern age:

        1. 750words

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        750 words

          750words is a free online journaling tool created by Buster Benson. The site is based on the idea of “Morning Pages”; a journaling tool Julia Cameron suggests in her creativity course The Artist’s Way. Cameron advises aspiring creatives to start each morning with three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing to clear away the mental clutter, leaving you with a clearer mind to face the day.

          750 words is the three-page digital equivalent (assuming the average person writes 250 words per page) and lets you store all your journaling online. Each morning, you’ll receive a prompt asking you to write your 750 words, and the site keeps track of various statistics associated with your entries. The site uses a Regressive Imagery Dictionary to calculate the emotional content from your posts and provides feedback on features like your mood, and most commonly used words.

          750 words is simple to set up and is ideal for anyone who finds it challenging to maintain a consistent journaling practice. The site uses a number of incentives to motivate users, including animal badges awarded to journalers who complete a certain number of days in a row, leader boards, and opt-in monthly challenges.

          2. Ohlife

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          ohlife

            Ohlife is designed to make online journaling as easy as possible. Once you’ve signed up for your free account, the website will send you an email each day asking “How did your day go?” Simply reply to the email with as much or as little detail as you like, and your response will be stored on your account, ready to view next time you log in.

            Ohlife’s appeal lies in its simplicity: no stats, no social sharing, no complicated organisational systems—the site is designed to provide you with a private, online space. Simply respond to the email each day (or skip the days you’re busy) and Ohlife will do the rest.

            3. Oneword

            oneword

              OneWord is a fun online tool that provides you with a single word as a prompt and gives you sixty seconds to write about it. The concept’s aim is to help writers learn how to flow, and the prompts range from the everyday mundane to the profound.

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              Oneword is not a private journaling tool: if you sign up, your answers will be published on the site’s daily blog, which contains a stream of users’ answers, and might be used by Oneword in the future. If you’d rather keep your answers to yourself, you can still use the tool for fun without giving out any personal details.

              4. Penzu

                Penzu is a journaling tool that allows you to store your journaling notes online. The service also offers mobile apps for iOS, Android and Blackberry, so you can journal on the go and save your notes to your account. The basic service is free, however you can upgrade to Penzu Pro and get access to additional features, including military-grade encryption and the ability to save and sync data through your mobile, for $19 per year.

                With either version of Penzu, you can insert pictures, and add tags and comments to entries, as well as search for older entries. You can set your posts to be private and viewable by you only, or share them with others.

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                5. Evernote

                Evernote isn’t a purpose-built journaling tool, however its features make it perfect for keeping your journaling notes in one safe place. With the ability to keep separate “notebooks”, tag your entries, include pictures, audio and web clipping, Evernote will appeal to journalers who want to include more formats than just text in their entries.

                Available online within a web browser, and as a stand-alone desktop app, the service also comes with a series of mobile apps covering almost every device available. These allow you to make notes on the go and sync between the mobile and browser versions of the app.

                For additional features, including text recognition and the ability to collaborate on Notebooks, you can upgrade to Evernote’s premium service, which costs $5 per month.

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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