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Two Tips for Gmail Users to Manage Email More Efficiently

Two Tips for Gmail Users to Manage Email More Efficiently

A lot has been written on how batch processing is the most efficient way to manage email. If you’re unfamiliar with the practice within this context, it more or less advocates only checking and processing your email a few times a day. By limiting task-switching, you’re able to achieve better focus and get more done.

Even though we may be cognizant of this, only checking and processing your email a few times a day is not easy to do for a whole slew of reasons: The best way to overcome any challenge is to create an environment where it’s easy to succeed. For managing your email efficiently, creating an environment that reduces your temptation to frequently check email encourages practicing batch processing.

Here are two simple ways that Gmail users can design an environment that’s more conducive to batch processing and subsequently manage email more efficiently:

1. Bookmark Ancillary Services

For many of us, Gmail is more than just a mail client; it’s where we chat with co-workers, store important documents,  and access our calendars. It’s literally the central hub for productivity.

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In its current state, the gateway to most of these ancillary Google services is on the top pane of your inbox, so the process for retrieving your documents requires first heading to your inbox. If there are new messages dangling in front of you every time you want to open a document, resisting the temptation to check your email can be very difficult.

A simple trick to circumvent this is to bookmark each ancillary service so that you can access it without checking your email. Google Docs, Calendar, and Reader are great ones to begin with, but you can even go as far as bookmarking the Compose function so that new messages can be initiated without entering your inbox.

 

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BatchProcessing

     

    Most browsers enable you to append bookmarks on the toolbar, which essentially replicates the top pane access available in the Gmail client. If you access a particular document frequently, you can even save a step by adding a direct bookmark to that doc in your browser.

    2. Pause Your Inbox

    Again, batch processing is easier to execute when you limit the temptation of checking your email frequently. Inbox pause is an amazing free plugin from Baydin that does exactly that.

    In short, Inbox Pause allows you to control when messages appear, so “pausing” your inbox prevents new messages from showing up until you dictate that you’re ready for them to appear. From the moment you click pause, you could receive 100 emails, but they’ll be kept in purgatory until you “un-pause” your inbox via a simple button.

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    Inbox Pause

       

      Say your goal is to process email 3 times a day (i.e. 10 am, 2 pm and 6 pm). By pausing your inbox after processing at the designated time slots, you can maintain a clean inbox until the next time you’re ready to check it. Not only does this make batch processing easier, but the mere fact that no new messages await diminishes the temptation to constantly check your email. After all, there’s nothing new in your inbox across any device until you click un-pause.

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      If you’re truly making an effort to commit to batch processing, inbox pause allows you to shift the paradigm of email—without it, you’re at the mercy of other people. And though you still have to refrain from continually un-pausing your inbox for it be effective, the fact that you need to opt-in against your intentions through one more additional action (clicking un-pause), serves as another line of defense in the struggle to maintain discipline.

      These two practices are both excellent ways to create an enviroment that promotes effective batch processing.

       

      What practices do you use to manage email efficiently?

       

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      Last Updated on May 14, 2019

      8 Replacements for Google Notebook

      8 Replacements for Google Notebook

      Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

      1. Zoho Notebook
        If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
      2. Evernote
        The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
      3. Net Notes
        If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
      4. i-Lighter
        You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
      5. Clipmarks
        For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
      6. UberNote
        If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
      7. iLeonardo
        iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
      8. Zotero
        Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

      I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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      In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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