Gmail has become synonymous with email in recent years, and more businesses are using Gmail for their corporate email. In June 2012, Google announced an impressive 425 million active Gmail users across the globe. Whether you use Gmail for your business or personal email, there are several ways to get the most out of your account.
Here are three simple ways to get more out of Gmail on a daily basis:
Use Filters and Labels to Organize Incoming Mail
As a Gmail user for business purposes, I want my incoming mail to be sorted as effectively as possible so I can immediately know where I should start reading. I have my inbox organized so that any email coming from any corporate office I communicate with skips the inbox and gets filed under a “Company” label. At the same time, it goes into a subfolder organized by office. For example, when I receive an email from my contact in the Carolina office, it shows up in both folders. That way, at a glance I can see how many emails are waiting for me, and which offices I need to look at.
Under each subfolder, I created a “Sent” folder, so that with one click I can easily see what correspondence I've sent to a specific office.
Taking a few moments to set up filters and labels has saved me hours of searching for sent and received emails. It has also made my day much easier to jump into than if I were just digging into a pile of unsorted emails.
Use Gmail to Manage your Task List
I use my task list on a daily basis to keep track of my most important “to-do’s” for the day. Gmail has been a huge help in keeping me on top of that list.
First, click on the gear icon in the top right corner of your Gmail screen. In the “Settings” menu, make sure that the Keyboard Shortcuts option is enabled.
Next, whenever an email comes in with an action item, press Shift + T to create a task for it. The subject line of the email becomes the task name, with a link underneath to the related email. The task bar stays at the bottom of my Gmail screen, where I can expand or minimize it as need be. My team members know that if they need me to work on something, they include “TASK:” at the beginning of their subject line so I can appropriately tag it.
Finally, to have easy access to my task list on the go, I've bookmarked http://gmail.com/tasks on my smartphone. Now I can easily and quickly see my priority tasks wherever I may be.
Use Gmail Labs for a Fully Customized Inbox
Another great way to get the most out of Gmail is to use Gmail Labs to create truly unique email client.
Click on the gear icon in the top right corner and then select "Labs" from the menu on top. Browse through the list to see what Labs appeal most to you.
I write a lot of similar emails, so I've enabled Canned Responses to quickly write more common messages. I also want to be able to view my daily Google Calendar from the email inbox, so I enabled that Lab as well. Play around with some of the various options until you find the perfect setup for your needs.
With a little bit of organization and forethought, Gmail can be the perfect tool to help your day stay organized. Whether you are a casual user or send and receive hundreds of emails a day, Google has provided the tools for you to create a fully personalized email interface. If you’re one of the more than 425 million Gmail users, start using these advanced features today to get the most out of your inbox!