Over the past several years I have used Gmail. Before that, I used a couple other clients like Yahoo and Hotmail, but just never really liked them. I always tell people who are in “business” that I HIGHLY recommend they use gmail, and in this post I am going to show you my top 10 reasons it works for me…
1. It just works
I know, this is one is not very sexy, but it is true. No matter what device I am on, my Mac or my MOTO X I can always access my email in a really nice, easy to navigate interface, and that is important to me. When you get hundreds of emails every day you HAVE to be efficient, and gmail helps me to be just that. I can literally go through my email a couple times per day and keep my inbox clean and generally at the coveted inbox zero.
2. Customizing Your Experience
This one is HUGE for me. I like to create my own experience on a platform. What I mean by that is, I like to be able to create folders and filters so that my messages go right where I want them how I want them to. I can have emails from specific people skip the inbox and go directly to a folder. This is great for marketing emails that I want to get, but do not want to clutter my daily work flow. I send them directly to a folder that I can go into at my leisure to catch up.
Here is how I add filters to emails to put them where I want them:
Email comes in from specific email address. In this case, it is from Leslie Samuel from BecomeABlogger.com. I first select the email. Then I select “more” and then “Filter messages like these.”
Once I have opened the filter area, I then select my options. In this example, I am only filtering the email address. However you can add keywords etc to only filter emails that contain specific keywords. For instance if I was someone who had a product and wanted to filter any message that had the words “support” or “issues” etc, I could do that and have them marked as “important” to help me keep up with things…
Once I have set the filter, I then go in where I can totally control where messages with these filters will go.
I really love this, because it allows me to keep emails that can lead to me not being productive in a place where I can go when I have time and catch up. So many marketers have told you, since the release of tabs in gmail, to add them to your “priority” box, but I am telling you that you should NEVER do that. I do not care who it is…this totally defeats the purpose of those tabs, and email is one of those constant distractions that can keep you from being productive if you let it.
Since I set up my gmail with all of these filters, my productivity has increased considerably. No more squirrels!
3. Integrated with G+
So, I have pretty much walked away from every other social platform besides Google Plus. Some people think this is a bad move, and I have always said…”don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and as I still feel that way, I feel that Google just has all the baskets covered. Almost everything I do is with Google these days, and I just love their goal toward a more open web. We HAVE to keep it open, and so I support that. I feel that other platforms really go out of their way to control the message with complex algorithms that try to predict our online behavior and cater the message accordingly, but no matter how hard they try, they have never been able to figure out exactly what I want, but Google Plus lets me completely customize my experience and allows ME to choose what I want to see in my main Home Stream.
Here is my home stream:
Now, I can totally customize my experience, and based on that my Gmail creates the circles inside my inbox, so I do not even have to go to G+ to catch up, I can just read and respond directly from gmail:
4. Integrated with WiseStamp
This is a 3rd party service that I use to create very nice email signatures that are always up to date with my latest info. It can show your latest blog posts, update your image based on your Facebook profile and much more. You can even start using it free. Go to WiseStamp.com to set up an account. (Not an affiliate link)
5. VERY mobile friendly with apps for both Android and iOS
The mobile experience is very clean and easy as well to keep organized. I am an ex-apple evangelist gone Android and SO happy I did as my Google experience has gotten even better. I personally feel that Apple is moving sideways, and Android is moving up, which is sad because I am a mac lover. I would like to see more progress from them…
6. Send and receive email from your personal addresses
I am able to use Gmail for ALL of my email. It does not have to just be my gmail address. I pull in every single address I use into gmail, and can set it to automatically reply from the email the message was sent to. This keeps me from sharing my personal (private) email address with the public, and not have to worry about switching every time I want to send.
Once I go into the settings section, I can then add additional Pop3 or IMAP accounts:
Then when I am composing a message, I can select what account I want it to come from, as well as set a default.
7. Send money and pay invoices right from Gmail
This is a feature that not too many people know about. I personally use Google Wallet to pay for things online. I am able to use different cards whenever I want, and keep track of it all in one place.
Now, I can use that to say send money to my brother Steve right from gmail. This is convenient because I do not have to use my least favorite merchant in the world…PayPal. Look how easy this is…
All I do is start an email to my brother…click the + sign at the bottom of the compose window, and then select the $ icon:
Then, from the bottom I simply select the + sign, and then the $ sign…
Then, this will pop up:
I click “review”, then pay and I am done. My brother can now claim his $25.
8. Create and invite people to events straight from gmail
I am able to not only create events on the fly, but I can invite my recipients. This is a great way to throw out a quick reminder to a meeting, or just to invite someone for coffee. Here is all you have to do.
Just start a normal email…
Then, scroll to the bottom and click on the + sign, and then this icon:
Once you click on that, this dialogue will appear:
Once you have created the event, just click “Insert Invitation” and you will see this:
Then, once you send here is how the email will look to your recipient.
9. Send files up to 10GB in size right from Google Drive
This is a HUGE one for me as well because when you work in development and project management, there are always files going all over the place, and you just cannot send them any old way. You need to be able to get them out quickly, and services like HighTail charge you fees to send over 100MB. It is so easy to just open up gmail, and send from there…like this.
First thing you want to do is start a message to your recipient. Just click on “compose.” We already have seen how this dialogue looks. Next, click on the + sign at the bottom of your compose window, and then select the Google Drive icon.
Just drag and drop the file(s) you wish to send into this box, and click “upload.” Now, if you already have Google Drive, you can also select right from your drive account the file you wish to send. Just select the proper menu item from the left when uploading/adding your file(s).
I don’t know how many times this has saved me. Video files especially are HUGE in most cases, and most email clients don’t like things much bigger than 25MB or so. So, if you send large files this will become your new best friend!
10. Threaded Conversations
You ever have a conversation in email, and by the time you are done, there are all those >>>>> moving the message all the way over to the right? Well, with gmail, you can thread the conversation so that every email that comes as a reply to the original is attached to that conversation so if you ever have to go back and find something that was said, you can just search that conversation.
These are just 10 of the reasons I LOVE gmail. There are actually even more. Too many to list. It has made me so much more productive as I am able to cater my busy work to my schedule. I am able to connect with people when I want and create events to invite people quickly.
It is hard these days because there are SO many distractions. Email is by far the #1 distraction because it pulls us in and makes us start working on someone else’s agenda. You need to be on YOUR agenda. Try setting 3 times per day that you check your email and see what it does to your productivity.
I check my email first thing in the morning as I have many people that need my help for things. Once I check and respond, I make my list for the day and get started. Then I will check it again around 1-2 PM. I will again respond to only things I NEED to respond to. I leave the other stuff that can wait as “unread” for when I check in the evening.
Then somewhere in the evening, I will sit down and open up G+ and play around, and then open my email to go over what I may have missed for the day. I then move things accordingly to what I can wait until the following morning to respond to, and what needs my attention right away.
This alone has helped me be so much more productive, and in todays social media driven world of squirrel after squirrel, we need to work on productivity.
Do you use Gmail? If so, has it helped your productivity? Do you think it will now that you know more cool things it can do?
Set up your FREE Gmail account today! Gmail.com.
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