This screencast covers two Gmail tips that will make a huge difference in your ability to process your email. This will be old news to some of you, but after helping a few friends with these tips over the past couple of weeks, I decided that I’d share them publicly to help those who don’t know about them.
You’ll see that I suggest logging out and back into Gmail when you’ve enabled new features. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it’s the most reliable way to ensure that your features work properly. Also, there are a few pops because I used a different microphone, but besides that, the content was good enough that I didn’t want to rerecord it.
Did you know that you can use Gmail for your own domain? You’ll notice in this video that I am. Check out Google Apps if you’d like the features of Gmail but want to keep to use your own domain name. There’s a free version and a paid version, too.
Would you like to learn more about effective email management? Check out Email Triage – it’s a packaged set that includes a guided audio program, a 19-page ebook, and a worksheet that has the S.T.A.R. method in a handy 3×5 format. It’ll help you calm email stress and overwhelm in 30 minutes (or less) – and you can pick it up for the reasonable price of $10.
I sure hope the keyboard shortcut screen can be dismissed with a keystroke! (I bet it’s Esc.)
I’m not sure why I don’t use keyboard shortcuts in Gmail. I guess I never really saw the point, at least not until seeing your example here. Now I understand! Thank you!
I’ve been using Send & Archive for awhile now though, and it’s been great. In fact, I use a lot of Labs features (28 of them, according to the hover-over message from the Labs icon).
My best tip (which probably deserves much more explanation than I’m going to give here) is that Inbox Zero is almost easy to obtain with Multiple Inboxes. With this Labs feature, you can move actionable emails to a secondary inbox on the main page instead of keeping them cluttering up the main Inbox. I set my secondary inbox to show starred items (actually, Superstarred items, another Labs feature), but labels would work just as well (perhaps better, because of the “Move” option that both Labels and Archives at the same time). However, I use labels more to give context to where or who the emails came from, and it could get confusing if I tried to have too many labels doing too many different things.
I use the Superstars for one purpose only: to file emails into four different inboxes on my main screen, in addition to the actual “Incoming Mail” Inbox. The red and yellow exclamation points file emails into my “To Do” box; the orange arrows file into “To Reply”, the blue ‘i’ files stuff into “To Know”, and the green star files into “To Watch”. (Bonus tip: I just found out that I can use the keyboard shortcut ‘s’ to cycle through the Superstars!) When I no longer need an email to be noticed, I remove the superstar and it fades into the Archive.
It may sound like a lot of fiddling, but after the initial setup, I haven’t fiddled with it at all, and my whole email experience feels… lighter. I no longer confuse unprocessed emails with ones that actually require attention, nor do emails requiring attention hide way far away in the Starred folder. The Starred folder itself is no longer a mess of things I’m not sure I’m prepared to do, and people needing replies no longer get hidden amongst other things I may be avoiding for other reasons.
Sorry I ended up saying so much here… this really should be something that I add to my blog instead of merely posting as a comment! I just really wanted to share it with more people because I find it SO useful. I hope someone out there can use this! 🙂
.-= Qrystal´s last blog ..For the Love of Writing =-.
The screen can be dismissed with Escape.
I’m glad you found this post helpful, and I’m sure others will find your comment helpful, too. Thanks for sharing it!
After having experimented with multiple Inboxes, I’m not a fan – I’ll write about this soon. I think it works for some people, but I worry that it exchanges one problem for another.
That does sound like a complicated setup! It seems to me, and it sounds like Charlie agrees, that emptying your inbox solely for the sake of having an empty inbox doesn’t really solve anything. The point is to keep e-mail from being a distraction. If multiple inboxes works for you, that’s great, but I doubt I’ll try it myself.
I think I have keyboard shortcuts enabled. The problem is that I never learned how to use them, and Gmail sometimes starts doing acrobatics when I don’t know what I did to set it off! It does look really useful, though, so I should give it a legitimate try.
.-= Natasha´s last blog ..2009 Year in Review =-.
Thank you very much for these tips. I noticed them, but never got to see the utility of them. 🙂
Dan Cosgrove says
A quick incredible thank-you for mentioning the “Shift+/” for the cheat sheet. That alone made my day!