6 Productivity Hacks for Gmail

6 Productivity Hacks for Gmail

Did you know that Google’s Gmail is the dominant online email service with 1.5 BILLION global active users?! If you are one of the 1.5 billion people in the world using Gmail, then this blog is all you need to figure out how to boost productivity using the mighty email service itself. Get ready to transform your Gmail experience as Fintan Murphy from Damson Cloud shares with us his very own 6 Productivity Hacks for Gmail. Let’s change how we work!

1. Gmail layouts
Most personal accounts will have the default layout which includes categorisation of Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. This is all well and good for personal use but is not a preferred layout choice for business use and can lead to user frustration. Previously we had to go through our long form settings to make layout changes which caused confusion, but now with the ‘Quick Settings’ option it’s a more simplified experience.
Once you’re in your settings, you can decide to choose from 3 options: Default, Comfortable or Compact.


Default is the most expanded layout and lets you see more information about your attachment types and labels. 
Comfortable layout is tidier, it lets you see the attachment icon but doesn’t show you what the attachment is.
Compact layout is a great option if you’ve got a lot going on with your emails and need to be able to see a lot of emails at the same time.

For an expansive and easier to view layout, in terms of viewing attachments etc, we recommend using ‘default’ and customising to remove the categories and suit your needs, you can do this in the ‘Inbox Type’ section.

Keep your inbox tidy by choosing which emails you want to see at the top of the list. From Important emails to Unread, Starred, Priority or Multiple inbox, choosing the layout that works for you is very  helpful for  separating the marketing and communication type emails from those important emails that need responding to, in turn…making you more productive! .

Finally, the split screen option is another great tool. This gives you the option to click on an email and without having to open it fully, you will have a full view of the email on the right hand side or bottom half of your screen. 

Top tip: If you have multiple accounts, set a different background for each account to help you easily identify what account you are in.

2. Advanced search
Most of us have used the search bar when looking for a specific email or looking for an email from a specific person, and wasted a lot of time with this quick search option. So we’ve got good news, you can use the advanced search drop-down option! Rather than searching for the subject of your email, a name or a label, the advanced search option allows you to set more detailed parameters and get more granular so that you don’t need to have the exact information you’re looking for, as often with emails we are searching to discover the information that we do not have at hand.

Ever have trouble finding an attachment? We feel your pain! The advanced search option allows you to be more specific, and if you’re looking for an email with a particular attachment, you can select that option in the dropdown along with a person’s name or email and  find what you’re looking for with much more ease and of course, productivity!

3. Sidebar
You may be familiar with the sidebar for looking at your calendar etc, very useful yes, but there’s so much more that your sidebar has to offer. Not only can you use the sidebar to view your notes and google applications like tasks, but you can also make it an even more productive tool for yourself by linking other applications  to your Gmail or your business by plugging in your add-ons. WHAT? Yes, that’s right! Do you use zoom? Trello? Asana? Slack? Perfect! Add-ons to your sidebar allow you to pull data into one place, eliminating jumping from application to application = productivity increase. Fintan approves!
Note: You’ll need to give authorisation to each add-on.

4. Send later
Busy later but have time now? No problem, you can get that email done now and send it to your recipient later with Gmails scheduling tool, it’s the little dropdown arrow right next to “Send”. So write the email, add recipient and subject along with any attachments, completing it to the point where your next step is to send. But wait. Don’t send. Choose the little arrow drop down beside send, click schedule send, select your time and date, et voila.
Note: You can go back into your scheduled emails in the list on the left beside ‘inbox’ to view your scheduled emails and you can of course edit and delete all of the contents as you please. Scheduled emails will appear in your sent box only when the emails have actually been sent..

5. Templates
Save your time by creating templates. For example: If you have a specific reply going to people who sign up to one of your events or workshops that holds an agenda, you can create a template for that. Creating templates gives you the option to also edit the email once you select a specific template, such as – the recipients name or changes to the agenda. Very efficient!
Top tip: if you’re using templates, do not include your signature if you already have one set up as it will appear on the template email to your recipient twice.

6. Keyboard shortcuts
Ready to have your mind blown? Go to your Gmail and press ‘Shift+?’. This will show you all of your keyboard shortcuts. You can then go to ‘open in web settings’ and you can create your own custom keyboard shortcuts, this makes the whole experience exactly as you like it!
You’ll need to go into settings and in the advanced section you’ll need to enable the keyboard shortcuts,  from there you can customise. So for example, you can set up a certain key or shift + key for an actionable outcome, such as ‘new email’ etc. Try it out it’s pretty cool, and of course, productive!!

So that’s this week’s blog, hopefully you got something useful from it, if you feel that something wasn’t covered or you’d like more information on a certain hack, please get in touch.

As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner program, Damson Cloud specialises in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion the very best practices in remote working and change management, helping companies and their teams collaborate productively from anywhere in the world. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.

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