4 Gmail Hacks For Productivity

Gmail is a handy tool. But if you’ve never changed the setup on yours you could be leaving a lot on the table. Messing with the configuration of basic online tools is up there with people who use massive complex graphics as desktop backgrounds - a symptom of having too much free time, a sign of frivolity. Which is a shame, because there are actually Gmail plugins that can make using it way more productive and convenient. The top four? Read on!

1: Undo

If you’ve ever sent an email you wished you could call back as soon as you clicked ‘send,’ this hack’s for you. You’ll want to go to the Lab section (Settings>Labs), then select Undo Send and click Enable. Now when you send an email, that message lingers on the screen a while, accompanied by an honest-to-goodness Undo button that will recall it. Never send garbled, typo-ridden messages at 4AM again!

2: Schedule

… unless you want people to believe you sent that (highly polished) email at 4AM. In which case, the Boomerang for Gmail plugin lets you schedule outgoing emails. That’s useful if you have clients in different time zones, or people on your list open emails way more at certain times. The free basic Boomerang membership lets you schedule up to 10 emails a month and it’s compatible with Chrome, FireFox and Safari. Heavy users might want to upgrade, paying $5 - $50 a month.

3: Identify

If your inbox is a busy place, you’re likely to lose track of who said what when. Don’t sweat it. There’s an app (well, a plugin) for that. In fact, there are two very popular ones, Rapportive and FullContact. Rapportive works with FireFox and Chrome, while FullContact is Chrome-only, but has an iPhone app. Both do a similar job: they let you know who you’re talking to, opening a sidebar that shows photo, bio and other details whenever you open an email. FullContact has slightly more functionality, though - you can add notes to someone’s profile to remind yourself, and the information it displays comes from a range of sites while rapportive mostly just syncs with LinkedIn.

4: Disguise - and Detect

Email marketers have a vested interest in knowing who opened their emails, so they can AB test subject lines and improve clickthrough. And everyone would like to know if their emails are actually being read. So that’s where MailTrack gets its users from. MailTrack tells an email’s sender if the recipient opened the mail,and if so, when.

Unless that sender has UglyMail, which detects the tracker in a MailTrack mail and warns the recipient that it’s there, by displaying an ‘eye’ icon next to the incoming message. So if you’d like to catch out email recipients who would have you believe they never got the message, or you’d like to make sure you’re not being tracked yourself (or both), there’s a Gmail plugin with your name on it.

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