You are probably an ardent user of Gmail and use it almost every day. Do you think you’ve utilized every function of Gmail to ensure maximum productivity when you work? Likely not.
In fact, not all useful Gmail features are spelled out explicitly. So in this article, I will run you through 16 less known Gmail hacks that will super boost your productivity.
1. Unsend a Sent Email
Email blunders are extremely common. An AOL survey, covered by CBS states that around 32% of people accidentally forward the wrong email.
A wrongly sent mail with an undesired attachment or carrying confidential knowledge may create a bad impression as a professional or can even ruin your career.
Keeping this common error in mind, Gmail has created a feature that can help to “unsend” a sent email within a time span of up to 30 seconds.
To do this, simply go to the “Settings” page of your Gmail account. Enable the Undo Send button and set the invalidation period according to your wish. The below given screenshot will help you to understand better.
2. Get All Emails in One Tab
Are you the kind of person who hates tab hopping? Would you rather see all your emails at one place rather than different tabs like Social and Promotional?
This hack ensures that all your emails, irrespective their category are all neatly stacked up in your primary Inbox.
To achieve this, simply go to the settings of your Gmail and click on the Inbox tab. You can un-select the promotional and social check box and now all your email would be in one place.
The following screenshot should help:
3. Get More Tabs
However, if you are not someone who likes a laundry list of things, you can likewise add tabs like Updated and Forums and further segregate emails.
Emails will now automatically be clubbed into the new tabs, helping you focus on important emails.
4. Self Destruct Email
Gmail has developed a custom software script that hosts a self-destruct feature. Using this can add a timer to your mail and it will be self-destructed after a certain interval of period.
This helps when you don’t want an email to be forwarded to someone else. To do this, click on the padlock icon near the send button before you send out the email.
A new tab named Confidential mode opens with the option of Set Expiration. Make the necessary changes here. Refer to the screenshot and easily self-destruct emails!
5. Send Mails with a Verification Code
The confidential mode discussed above also allows you to send an email with a verification encryption sent via SMS to the recipient.
This will enable you to build an additional coating of security to your mail. Using this feature, you can be sure that the mail is read by the intended recipient only.
6. Keyboard Alternatives
If you use your desktop or laptop computer to check your emails, you can use shortcuts from your keyboard to enhance your productivity. Some popular Gmail hacks to improve your productivity are –
- Use the alphabet key “N” to read the next message and “P” to read the previous message if you are reading a multi-message conversion.
- By holding Ctrl + Enter you can send your composed message.
To utilize the keyboard alternatives, you have to enable it from the settings of your Gmail as given in the screen capture below:
7. Display Density
If you are not receiving a lot of emails, I’d recommend you to decrease the display density of your Gmail Inbox.
It serves like a multi-window function. It is also helpful for you to glance at the just important part of the email.
8. Reply All
Occasionally, we forget to select the “Reply All” option while sending a response to multiple recipients.
However, Gmail has come up with a solution to this problem. Just click on the settings tab and go to the general tab. Scroll down to the “Default Reply Behaviour” and select the Reply all option.
Now the “Reply All” option will always be the default option selected when conversing with multiple recipients.
9. Showing Maximum Number of Emails per Page
If you are receiving too many emails in a day, then you should definitely explore this option.
It gives you the ability to access more conversations per page. To achieve this, go to settings, click on the General menu bar and scroll down to “ Maximum page size”.
Thereafter set the number of conversions you want per page. For reference, check the screenshot given below:
10. Conversion View
If you are a fan of the classic Gmail, this is a handy hack.
To avoid a “thread” view in favor of the old conversation view – just follow these steps. Go to the General menu in the setting tab and simply scroll down to the “Conversion View” and select the option “conversion view off”. Refer to the screen capture underneath.
11. Desktop Notification
If you live off your emails, then this is a great option. You can simply add a chrome extension of Gmail or go to Settings > General > Desktop Notification and turn it on. It is also extremely helpful if you have set up email alerts for critical functions . The screenshot shared below will help you get it set up.
12. Advanced Search
This is one of my favorites of all the features. You probably would be using the regular search feature for your Gmail.
However, with the sheer amount of emails in the inbox, it is difficult to find specific information. This is where advanced search comes in.
Using this feature you can search a specific mail among hundreds of email of your inbox by applying useful filters as illustrated below:
13. Insert Google Drive Files
Need to send a large file? Not a problem with Gmail’s new integration feature. You can insert Google drive files as attachments to your mail.
Simply click on the Google drive icon on the lowermost portion of the window. It will convert your file as a link or an attachment as shown below:
14. Right Click Menu
Previously absent from the classic feature. The good old right click is here. Now if you right click on your emails, you can get the option to mark it Unread, Archive, or remove a message. All at a click of a button, straight from your Inbox page.
15. Vacation Responder
On leave? Don’t have time to reply to all the email you get? Head to the auto-responder option in Gmail.
You can customize what message you want to send out to people. To activate it, simply go to settings, click on general tab and scroll down to the vacation responder.
16. Account Recovery
I get at least one email a day that is spam that tries to hack into my account. So for security purposes, do update your account recovery options. This will be helpful when you are unable to remember your password or have been hacked.
It is just a series of questions you need to set up while opening the account (or update later on).
Additional tip: You’d need to remember the answers. So choose something you have negligible chance of forgetting or getting it wrong.
The Bottom Line
If you spend considerable amount of time on Gmail, theses hacks are sure to boost your productivity and better your email using experience.
Start adjusting your Gmail settings and make use of all these hacks for maximum productivity!
When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.
Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.
Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.
Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.
Table of Contents
Effective vs Efficient
Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”
A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.
Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.
The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.
Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.
When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.
Effectiveness in Success and Productivity
Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.
The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.
If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.
When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:
- Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
- What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
- Does the cost balance out with the benefit?
Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.
Efficiency in Success and Productivity
Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.
When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.
Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.
The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.
If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.
Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.
The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.
Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity
Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.
If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.
It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.
Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.
Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.
Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.
By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.
It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.
Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:
- Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
- Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
- Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.
And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.