3 Quick Productivity Boosters for Gmail Users
For those of us who use Gmail all day, having a few extra tricks can boost productivity. Hopefully you already use labels to group messages, know how to clean up your archive by searching for messages by date (e.g., "after:2014/4/26 before:2014/5/3″), and drag-and-drop messages between the new Gmail tabs to de-clutter.
Here are a few extra tips and tricks to make you more productive--and less prone to forget about that one message from accounting that just got lost in the shuffle.
1. Drag "graymail" messages over to the Forums tab
Gmail doesn't let you edit the tabs that appear up top--my theory is that it is a way to get you to see more ads when you click on the tabs. There are tabs for Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. You can remove them but you can't change their order, color, or name. That has not stopped me from using them in a way they were not intended. When I receive a message I know I want to deal with later, I drag-and-drop it over to the Forums tab. Since I'm not using Gmail for any forums like Google Groups, this tab is always empty. By dropping my "graymail" in there, it is always just a click away.
2. Search for messages from your contacts in the Google search box
I found this trick by accident. You might not always have Gmail up and running in a tab in your browser, or maybe you're like me and you like to focus on the work at hand. I do a ton of research using the Google Chrome browser, and I'm usually transfixed on scouring Web sites and reading about products I'm covering. A quick trick is to search for messages from contacts right from the Chrome URL box (where the HTTP appears). Just type the name of the contact and the word messages (e.g., "lindsay messages") in the URL box. You'll see the most recent messages from that contact listed by date. Click on any of them, and you will see the entire message. There's also a link to see the messages in Gmail.
3. Mark old messages as unread
This trick seems simple enough, but it has saved me a few times in my work day. If there's a message you have forgotten about, you can mark it as unread. It adds a bold font to the sender's name and the subject line as thoughit's a new message, and that seems to get my attention. Of course, you can also mark as read. Just use the More button just above the Gmail tabs. By the way, marking messages as unread works no matter where the message "lives" even if you have moved it to one of the other tabs.
Have any more tips and tricks to add? Post in comments or on my Twitter feed.