5 Gmail Tricks to Boost Productivity

Even if you know your way around Gmail, there is always more to learn. These tips will help you save time and streamline your workflow with features that let you quickly unsubscribe from email, keep your account secure and more.

Wed, October 24, 2012

CIO — Workdays revolve around email, whether you like it or not.

According to Backupify, a provider of cloud-based data and archiving services, the typical Gmail user has sent more than 5,000 emails. That's a lot of time spent. (To help you quantify how much your Gmail account is worth to you in dollars, Backupify also offers a Gmail Value Calculator.)

To ease the burden of email and ensure a more efficient use of your time, Google has a number of shortcuts, tips, tricks and new features to keep you productive. Here's a look at five that help you unsubscribe from unwanted emails, share your account with an assistant, keep your account secure and more.

1. Manage Your To-Do List Inside Gmail

"Tasks"—or your to-do list—can live inside Gmail. This feature lets you create lists of items, set due dates, take notes and add Gmail messages directly to it.

To get started, click the drop-down menu next to "Gmail," which is above the "Compose" button on the left side of the screen. Then select "Tasks." A window, similar to the Gchat box, will pop up on the bottom-right of your screen. This is where you can add, delete and assign due dates for each item.

To create a task based on an open inbox message, use the shortcut Shift + T. You can also reorder your tasks by grabbing them to the left of the check mark and dragging them up and down. Or, if you prefer a hard copy of your to-do list, print it by clicking "Actions" and selecting "Print task list."

2. Unsubscribe from Unwanted Emails

If you receive countless emails from retailers announcing sales and updates that you no longer want to receive, Gmail makes unsubscribing easy.

To use this feature, mark the email you want to unsubscribe from as spam. Once you do, you'll see a dialog box like this one:

Clicking "Unsubscribe" will automatically send a request back to the sender so they'll stop emailing you. Google says that this feature works for some senders right now, and it is adding more:

"We won't provide the unsubscribe option on messages from spammers: we can't trust that they'll actually unsubscribe you, and they might even send you more spam. So you'll only see the unsubscribe option for senders that we're pretty sure are not spammers and will actually honor your unsubscribe request. We're being pretty conservative about which senders to trust in the beginning; over time, we hope to offer the ability to unsubscribe from more email."

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