Faster Gmail Productivity

Your Google Apps system should be your slave, not your master.  If technology overruns your life, then you are continually at its mercy when interruptions bombard your work day.  The easy interface of Google Apps Mail and speed of processing allows you to move quickly in and out of your email.

The technology is not enough, however.  The habits and systems you develop for yourself will help increase your productivity.  Here are some tips for helping you move quicker through your days that I use and advise my clients to implement for higher levels of success:

  • Stay on the keyboard. You can use shortcut keys and move much fasterthan with point and click.  See if you can move through your email with only keyboard clicks.  Here are some key ones:
    • CTRL+J: Next
    • CTRL+K: Previous
    • e: Archive
    • #: Delete
    • s: Star (for action)
    • r: Reply
    • f: Forward
  • Set up your messages to auto-advance. When you process a message, the next one should automatically come up to save an extra click.
  • Make one of three decisions:
    1. Delete (the majority)
    2. Archive (to save and search later if needed)
    3. Act (use Stars to act later)
  • Check your email separately.  Keeping it on all day relegates you to hyper-responsive mode.  Protect your focus and process your emails hourly or at set times.
  • Set filters. For emails you can read later, create a filter rule to label the inbound email and skip the inbox.  For predictable responses, create a respective filter rule.

Your work is email, but your life does not have to be.  Using a few simple strategies should help you focus on actions and decisions which is the point of email.  It needs to be quickly moved to one of these 2 things and not disrupt the important work you have to accomplish in your other ongoing projects.

Which of these will help you move faster?

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