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Make Your Gmail Inbox A Productivity Machine

If you have read a few posts on this site, you know I loves me some Google. I use it for my sites, the soccer club I administer and am switching soon to an Android OS phone soon.

The reason I am an avid user of Google products is because they make things I need to do more simple. The more simple something is, the more I can get done without it feeling the opposition of complicated software.

Below I have a few add-ons and tips to make your Gmail inbox a dream instead of a nightmare.

Some of these I have talked about before. If you have not read the posts, give them a glance and let me know what works for you and what doesn’t.

Gmail filters

Gmail filters are a great way to keep your Gmail inbox controlled. It may take a little trial and error, but you will quickly see what works for you. I make adjust and removeĀ  filters all of the time depending on my work flow and what I need sorted.

Gmail canned responses

Canned responses are auto responders built right into your email account. Here is the post I wrote a while back on everyday uses for canned responses. I saw a post by Kevin Rose (the Digg head honcho) that made good use of this feature.

Imap/pop3 access

Depending on how you would like to access your Gmail account, you may need to enable some options in the settings. If you would like to use a desktop program like Thunderbird or Outlook, you may need to change settings to keep the same features you have available to you on the web.

If you have an Android powered phone, it uses the IMAP option automatically.

Browser add-ons

If you are a Firefox user and abuser, you can take advantage of a few add-ons. Keep in mind however, if you add in several add-ons, they may conflict with each other. Below are a few useful add-ons to try.


Rapportive is a really neat little addition to your Gmail inbox. Instead of ads, it shows the social sites your email buddy belongs to. It may not seem like this is a productivity tool, but think of the time you will save building your network of people on social networking sites.

Integrated Gmail

Integrated Gmail is super useful if you are a Google addict like I am. In a nutshell, it gives you access to your calendar, voice, Reader and a few other Google apps. Depending on your USB drive, it may not work well running it on portable Firefox.

Etacts Gmail Plugin

The Etacts Gmail plugin is a great way to remind you are waiting for a reply from someone. The way it works is by giving you a box to check when emailing someone. You can select how far out you would like a reminder.

Say I email you with a guest speaking opportunity. I would need time to find another speaker, so to keep on top of the situation I could ask to be reminded in 1 week if I do not get a reply.

Schedule Once

I talked about how Schedule once makes scheduling a meeting easier. If you need to set a meeting, this is a recommended add-on. Another similar app is Tungle. Both work in much the same way, but Tungle works great on your Blackberry as well.

Leave a comment with your email productivity tips, not matter how basic they may seem to you.

image credit: Mzelle Biscotte

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