Gmail Productivity Tips

Personally, I enjoy figuring out ways to be more efficient and more productive. One area that I’ve developed several shortcuts and optimizations is Google Apps, specifically Gmail. For two decades, I did email in a native app (Pine, Thunderbird, and Outlook) before switching exclusively to Gmail. After being Gmail-only for several years, I recommend it to everyone.

Here are a few Gmail productivity tips:

  • Send and Archive – For almost all email responses, I use the optional Send and Archive button available through Gmail Settings. The idea is that once I send a response, I don’t want to see the email again unless the recipient responds back. With one click, the response is sent and I likely won’t ever see that email again.
  • Auto-Advance Emails – Every time I respond to an email, Gmail automatically takes me to the next oldest email in the Inbox without showing the Inbox via auto-advance, making it easy to rapid-fire process emails.
  • Canned Responses – Many of the common emails I send, like scheduling a meeting or introducing another person, are a canned response, making the email process faster and more consistent.
  • Calendly Signature Link – For sales reps and customer-facing roles, adding a Calendly link to the signature (see Jason’s post on Calendly) makes it easy for prospects and clients to schedule a meeting with limited friction.
  • Hide Unread Email Counts – As I don’t want to be distracted by the number of unread emails, I click on the “Starred” folder on the left navigation to change the page title and thus not show new emails in the inbox.
  • Native Mobile App – On iPhone, the native Gmail app is much better than using the standard email program, but doesn’t support all the above features.

Gmail is an amazing tool, and with these productivity tips, an even better and more efficient experience.

What else? What are some more Gmail productivity tips that you like?

6 thoughts on “Gmail Productivity Tips

  1. David, good productivity tips- thanks for sharing. I’m interested to hear if you’ve tried Inbox from Google yet. I’ve been using it for the last few days and think I like it, but the jury is still out. Always takes a while to adjust to a new way of doing things. You’re able to pin email threads in your inbox if they’re important, snooze emails for reminders later and mark emails as “done”, which essentially archives them.

    If you haven’t tried it yet but are interested and need an invite, I’ve got a couple left and happy to share.

  2. Follow up post request for your favorite Gmail extensions. From contact helpers (e.g. Rapportive, FullContact), to sales trackers (e.g. Yesware) to perhaps the simplest, but my favorite, Boomerang.

    Your first bullet above is great the majority of the time, but what happens when the other person doesn’t respond? Boomerang makes it really easy to make sure you get a response.

  3. I am a huge Gmail fan and am excited to check out there release yesterday of multiple email accounts in one inbox. Email still a tons of headroom for innovation. Today we launched Saleswise ( that integrates email directly into all you other business relationship information. Feel free to check it out and see if it helps you better understand the context of emails.

    Gregg Freishtat

  4. Filters! Filters are great in tagging, labeling, deleting, archiving, etc. emails with little involvement. It’s been a savior.

    Also, in ‘Labs’, I’ve enjoyed adding the Agenda/ Calendar to left-side of Gmail in addition to the “Mark as read” button.

  5. I love Gmail and to ensure proper follow up, has become my go to for scheduling emails when I am cranking them out at the wee hours of the night or making sure I keep someone or a task top of mind.

    Thank you for the canned responses reminder!! #needthat

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