Every freelancer or small business owner spends a considerable amount of time processing their emails. I bet I am right in that regard. What if you could sort your emails faster with less hustle? Do you desire to keep both your inbox and reputation clean and comfortable to manage each message appropriately?
Guess what? knowing some clever Gmail tricks, hacks, and tips will save you time.
Gmail is a really powerful platform that has many productivity-augmenting features. With over 1.5 billion people using Gmail for personal and professional usage, these tricks will come in handy. The most fascinating thing is that most Gmail owners only use a small percentage of the many features that are available. The reason behind this peculiarity is that it’s not easy to find and learn the most useful Gmail tricks and tips.
In this article, I have compiled some really useful Gmail tricks and tips that will enhance your productivity and furnish an easy-to-manage email inbox.
1.Enable and Customize Keyboard shortcuts
The first trick to mastering any product or service has got to be keyboard shortcuts! As a Gmail user, I believe you already know and use a handful of shortcuts. For example, while sifting through new emails, Shift + u will mark them as unread. Again, while composing an email, Ctrl + Enter will send that email to the recipient. To access keyboard shortcuts click Settings ➡ General tab ➡ scroll down to ‘Keyboard shortcuts’ ➡ click On/Off ➡ click Save changes.
Here are some keyboard shortcuts you might not know or might not have used:
p -Lets you open a previous message in an open conversation
Ctrl + Shift + c – Allows you to add cc recipients
Ctrl + k – Allows you to insert a link
Ctrl + m – Lets you open spelling suggestions
c – compose an email
/ – Search email
u – Takes you back to email threadlist
! – Report as spam
The full Gmail keyboard shortcut list is quite long. You will need to enable these shortcuts since by default they are turned off. Managing many emails and email threads will be made easier by these Gmail keyboard shortcuts. You can access the full list here.
If for any reason you feel like customizing keyboard shortcuts to your liking then all you need to do is enable that in settings. You will have the ability to customize Gmail keyboard shortcuts via a new settings tab that will allow you to remap keys to various actions. Hover over to Settings ➡ Advanced ➡ Custom keyboard shortcuts.
2.Gmail Inbox Modes
In case you did not have a clue, Gmail has a cool feature – inbox modes. You have the freedom to choose from 5 different in Gmail inbox modes, depending on your priority.
Considering that every Gmail inbox comes with a default layout, an overhaul will be effective in enhancing your productivity as a freelancer. Freelancing entails sending hundreds or thousands of proposals, CVs, portfolios, invoices, email queries with long threads and in return you get spam, trash, promotional and marketing emails, etc. Having an inbox that prioritizes your emails in order of need and importance would be great, wouldn’t it? Glide over to Settings ➡ Inbox ➡ Inbox type.
📩Important First — All emails marked Important will be shown on top
📩Unread First — Here, unread emails will be displayed regardless of category
📩Starred First — This inbox mode filters starred emails to the top
📩Priority Inbox — This mode allows you to split your inbox into three sections: important and unread, starred, and everything else.
📩 Multiple Inboxes — Lets you customize your inbox to show different ‘inboxes’ in one view. For instance, school and work emails will show two separate accounts within the same browser.
3. Turn Emails Into Tasks
Supposing you had a boatload of emails to check and reply to and time is not on your side. How will you make sure you finish them on time without skipping any email?
One handy Gmail trick that you can use is converting your emails into tasks. That will be achieved by selecting any email conversation then click the ‘More’ action button and select ‘Add to tasks’ from the drop-down menu.
Instantly, a task tab box will open up on the right side of your inbox layout. Here you can create as many tasks as you wish and add details or notes to the tasks. In the details dialog box, you can assign a due date to your task, input notes, and move tasks to different tasks lists.
This Gmail trick will make a big difference in your productivity. Having a task list will help you stay on track, help you organize your workday and keep you from forgetting an important email conversation.
4. Better Results with Advanced Search
Suppose you have hundreds of emails like I do but don’t have an idea about the date or year it was sent. Maybe you know the name of the sender or the size of the attachment but not its name or subject header. In such instances, make use of the Gmail inbuilt advanced search feature trick.
To use this, click on the ‘down’ arrow at the top of your Gmail layout. It will display ‘Show search options’, here you will be able to set different criteria as per your liking. You can set ‘from/to’ address, the subject header, or if you have a rough idea on the content you can input words included in the email.
Alternatively, you can choose the size of the email or the time period that you might have sent it. You can further narrow down your search by selecting inbox/read/unread/trash/spam etc, this will save you a lot of time.
Top tip: If you are running down on Gmail space allocated to your email address, this trick can help you save on space by enabling you to delete heavy-sized emails you may no longer need.
6. Use Search Operators
Search operators will come in handy whenever you need to filter your search results or narrow down to very specific keywords. Gmail in-built search enables you to combine operators so as to filter your results even more.
Even better, whenever you do a search with search operators you can always set up a filter for the messages just like in advanced search features. You can access Gmail search operators and examples here.
7. Schedule Emails
Freelancers work for clients who are based in different countries, use different time zones and different business hours. Gmail now lets you write an email and schedule a sending time. If you did not know about this cool feature that was added by Gmail in April 2019, now you do.
This trick is particularly convenient for replying to emails outside business hours or time zones. Previously scheduling an email required a third-party extension like Boomerang. It’s now built into both the Gmail app and the Gmail website. You can easily schedule an email for later, choose a time and the email will go out at set date and time.
Compose your email regularly, once you are done composing instead of hitting send, click down the arrow to the right of the Send button and then click ‘Schedule send’. This trick lets you schedule an email for a few days, weeks, months or even years! Supposing you want to send an email to your future self in a few years’ time, Gmail will allow you to do it up to the year 2068!
8. Use Gmail Offline
Modernity puts a high reliance on electricity and internet connectivity. Lack of either of those two crucial amenities means you won’t be able to access your emails. Good news – there is a trick to make that possible, all you need is a chrome browser and make sure you bookmark mail.google.com.
Gmail offline enables you to read, respond, and search for your messages even if you’re not connected to the internet. You can always ask your admin to help change settings if you’re using Gmail with a school or work account.
To turn on Gmail offline, first, download the chrome browser and make sure you’re not using incognito mode. Go to Gmail offline settings ➡ check ‘enable offline mail’ ➡ choose your settings ➡ click Save changes.
9. Undo Your Emails
We all have done it. Calmly composed an email, selected an attachment, typed the sender email, and press send. Then boom! you realize it was a grumpy cat meme or a funny stupid gif and you just sent it to your boss or maybe the new client. It could be an accidental email that you innocently sent to your entire work team. Panic creeps in. Regret engulfs you. But its all done and there is nothing you can do. But voila there is a workaround.
Gmail has an impressive feature to enable undo send emails. Hover over to Settings ➡ General ➡ Scroll down to ‘Undo send’ ➡ click on ‘Send cancelation period’ and set your settings. At the maximum, you can set 30seconds. But this could save you an embarrassment or even a disciplinary case.
10. Power up Filters
The filters tab in your Gmail settings can be used creatively to do more than categorize your emails. For instance, you can create a new filter with a keyword like ‘unsubscribe’, this filter will scan your inbox and automatically send ‘subscription’ like email and sent it to the junk folder.
This trick allows you to create customized filters that will help sort incoming mail. You can create a filter that will mark all messages as ‘read’, this will stop you from checking any notification that pops up once in a while.
To achieve the desired filter setting, go to Settings ➡ Filters and Blocked addresses ➡ create a new filter ➡ enter the relevant keywords in the From field ➡ click create a new filter ➡ Do your settings i.e. Delete it/Never mark it as important/ Never send it to Spam/ Mark as Read, etc ➡ click create filter.
11. Forgot to Sign out? Log out Remotely
Once in a while, we check our emails in a cyber cafe, a public computer, or a work computer. We may occasionally forget to log out of our accounts or internet connectivity may hinder us from logging out. Such scenarios can leave us in a vulnerable situation, especially if you have used your Gmail account to open a bank account or credit account or even smart home devices.
One extremely useful Gmail trick that can be beneficial to any freelancer is details link. It’s usually located at the bottom-most section of the Gmail page just beneath Last account activity. Gmail allows you to view the access type i.e. browser, mobile, Pop3, etc, the IP address, and time. Most importantly you will be able to sign out of all Gmail web sessions.
Gmail Tricks – The Conclusion
These top tricks and tips will definitely enhance your productivity and make your life easier in one way or another. My freelancing journey has benefited a lot from the ‘Gmail keyboard shortcuts’, ‘tasks’, and advanced features tricks. Make yours count!.