6 Gmail Productivity Tips You Need To Know

gmail   6 Gmail Productivity Tips You Need To KnowEvery John Doe knows how to use Gmail for his daily dose of email. However, not all of us use Gmail to its complete potential. Tweaking it here and there can make you really fall in love with the amazing functionality it offers. In tune with that, today we learn a few Gmail productivity tips.

Gmail is a powerhouse of features. It’s tough to find another email provider that offeres the plethora of features that Gmail does. Just putting in a bit of time towards customizing can save you a lot of effort in the future. Here’s a low down on how I use Gmail’s awesomeness everyday.


GTDInbox2   6 Gmail Productivity Tips You Need To Know

For the uninitiated, GTD stands for Getting Things Done. GTDInbox is a Firefox extension (though a Chrome version is in the offing) that makes it it downright easy for you to stay on top of your email.

Once you install it, it sets up some additional labels for you. Then, you are expected to label all your future email with one of those labels. You can sort mails into Contexts, References and Labels, then specify a status for each (i.e. Action, Working On, Someday, or Finished). These emails will now show up in a Todo list in the sidebar, and can be addressed as individual tasks. Once that’s complete you can simply process the emails as per priority. Read up on how to use here.

Quick Access To Unread Emails In The Inbox

Unread Bookmark   6 Gmail Productivity Tips You Need To Know

Here’s a Gmail productivity tip that I picked up a few days back. There are times when all you want to do is get hold of all the unread messages in your Inbox. Now you can do the same with just one word. If you are using Firefox, just search with the string “is:unread in:inbox” and bookmark the results page. Now, go to the Organize Bookmarks (that’s Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks) and click on the Bookmark you just created. At the bottom of the screen, click on more and type something easy and snappy in the “Keyword” field (I use “unread”).

Now, the next time you need all unread messages in your Inbox, simply click the location bar (hit Ctrl+L) and type the keyword you made for the bookmark.

Undo Send

Undo Send   6 Gmail Productivity Tips You Need To Know

Here’s one to help avoid all those “Oops!” moments. Google, being the awesome bunch of coders that they are, allow you to call back emails which you have just sent. Just go to Settings > Labs > Undo Send > Enable to turn on the functionality. Next time you send an email accidentally, just call it back by clicking on Undo.

Filter Me Crazy!

Filters   6 Gmail Productivity Tips You Need To Know

All those labels that you created are basically useless if you have to manually mark conversations. Use filters to automate the entire process. Create a filter by clicking on “Create a Filter” at the top of the page or by going to “Settings > Filters”. You could make one to automatically tag all emails from Social Networks and make them skip the inbox. Or make one to scan subject lines for words like “Fwd:”, “Fw:”, etc. and mark them as Forwards. The possibilities are endless with Filters.

Add Your Calendar To Gmail

GCal Gadget   6 Gmail Productivity Tips You Need To Know

It’s a major pain in the backside to fire up a new URL just to check with your Calendar. You can use the “Google Calendar Gadget” to integrate Google Calendar with Gmail. Just go to Settings > Labs and enable it.

In case you are a Remember The Milk fan, just go to Settings > Gadgets and type the following in the “Add Gadget by URL” box (remember to enable the “Add Any Gadget by URL” labs feature first):


The Powerful “+”

Filters are cool but tend to be messy. I mean, who really wants to create a custom search for specific words in their subject lines? It’s much easier to create specific email addresses. Gmail allows such functionality. In the eyes of Gmail, “abc@gmail.com” and “abc+keyword@gmail.com” are the same. So the next time you are signing up at a website, use the “+” operator and create a filter to apply to that email address. Life will never be easier.

With Gmail, nothing is more than a few clicks away. Particular features may be obscure, but once you know about of few Gmail productivity tips, you can really put them to good use. Gmail makes sure that your email works for you (and not the other way round). Use these tips and heave a sigh of relief.

Have I left out anything? What are you favourite tips or Gmail “hacks”? Share them with us in the comments!

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.


0 votes


In my GMail contacts, I created a contact with just my cell phone number. Then, using GChat, I SMS’ed my cell phone number.

On my phone, I saved the number it came in on (406-XXX-XXXX)as a contact named “GMail Chat.”

Now, whenever I’m out and about, away from a laptop, or just have something I want to look up later, I’ll text my GMail Chat number with a short note. This shows up in my GMail inbox as a Chat that arrived while I was offline.

0 votes


Unfortunately, fewer websites accept the e-mail addresses with the “+” as an acceptable e-mail address.

0 votes


But that doesn’t let you add an identifying keyword, like the + does. em.ail isn’t as helpful as email+makeuseof

0 votes


I have had this same problem. Worst one was a site that initially accepting the + in my address/account, but then wouldn’t recognize it when I needed to log in to modify the account. I ended up having to create a new account.

0 votes


I really love the translate option so I can read messages from people in other languages

0 votes

Bing My Pics

The tips are amazing.. never heard till now, mainly +

0 votes


Thanks for the “+” tip! I knew about the “.” trick, but the “+” tip is more useful for me.

I would love to use this as a spam prevention tool, but the fear is that these spam harvesters do get smarter over time as well and it would be very easy for them to parse and filter out the “+”. I’m surprised they don’t do it already.

For flexibility and feature purposes, I haven’t found a spam gobbling service better than spamgourmet.com and until Google integrates their features directly into gmail (a “generate email alias” to create a completely indecipherable address would be awesome) I don’t see myself switching.

0 votes


I like keyboard shortcuts. You have to switch them on in Settings>General (why are they off by default, Google?) but then you can do pretty much everything with your keyboard. In Settings>Labs you can even switch on Custom Shortcuts which additionally allow two different shortcuts for the same command (the link on the top right).
My favorite custom shortcuts are ESC (escape) instead of ‘gi’ to go ba.ck to the inbox and 1 to archive because it’s close to the escape button.
And… and this is what triggered my post, the standard shortcut for Undo is z. For some reason you only have 10 seconds max (Settings>General) to Undo a sent mail. Grabbing your mouse, pointing to and clicking the link is a lot of work if you can also only just hit z.

0 votes


As for the unread shortcut, if you have quick links enabled, just do a search in gmail for “is:unread”, once the search has occurred click the “add quick link” and you’re done, next time you want to only have unread messages on screen it’s only a click away, saves you typing your firefox keyword

0 votes


The idea is not having to take the mouse and click on the Quick Links. This way, using a keyword bookmark, you can go to your unread messages simply by using the Firefox address bar. Saves a lot of time.