Gmail Priority Inbox

I play around with my settings in every application I use. It is never enough for me to just use what I know. Developers add things that we as users can set up and use in their applications because they make my life easier. At some point, with every app I use, I will MAKE it a point to go through every setting, just to see what the application does. To see what I can do. I am sure this is is precisely how I discovered the Priority inbox in Gmail. It is not the default setting, and I never would have known it was there, if I had not hunted around for any and all settings that I might learn in order to make my life easier.

When I discovered the priority inbox, it was an immediate no brainer to me, and to be honest, I am not sure why it is not the default layout.

Once you start using this, I am confident you will not be able to imagine going back to the old way. Gmail’s priority inbox puts all of the important e-mails on top. How does it know? It’s Google. It’s smart. It learns based on your behavior, and when in doubt, you can tell gmail what is important and what isn’t with a quick click.

Most days I go through the “Important and Unread” to see what I need to do as far as follow up.

Once that part is complete, I select all (remaining) unread e-mails, and I scan for anything I may want to keep. I un-check those that I want to keep, and then delete everything else. On most days, it’s two clicks; Select Unread, Delete.

Gmail’s priority inbox has substantially boosted my productivity. I spend much less time IN my inbox, and much more time following up, and getting things done.

Gmail Threaded Conversations

I’ve been seeing a few people complaining about Gmail lately, and I’m concerned that they are possibly going to head back to Outlook. Outlook is terrible. No one should ever go back to Outlook. In fact Outlook should go the way of Outlook Express (remember that?).

The problem, many of us have when we switch to something so dramatically different, is that we’re looking for it to do the same things, in the same ways. The problem is that it would be no different then. It wouldn’t be so much better, like Gmail is, compared with outlook.

It’s just a learning curve, and you have to set aside everything you think you know about how to manage e-mail.

With Google’s most powerful search, and the label system, which allows for multiple labels to be assigned to single e-mail, it is easy to set up your e-mail so that information you need later is organized, categorized, and easily referenced. With Outlook, you can file an e-mail in a single folder. That’s it. What if you have more than one frame of reference for it? This is why I grew to love Gmail’s labels much better than Outlook’s folders.

In the long run, I’ve substantially stopped even using labels, because the search in Gmail works so well.

This time we’re looking at threaded conversations. With Outlook, your threaded conversations are a mess. You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom, and work your way backwards to read the history. What’s worse, is that with all of the indenting, and e-mail signatures in each message, it can actually require a law degree just to understand the conversation.

With Gmail, the conversations are threaded based on subject (you can set up Outlook to do this as well, but it isn’t by default). At first I thought I hated this, because I was so used to being able to sort my e-mails in outlook by sender. Over time I grew to love the way Gmail threads the conversations, because it makes it really easy to get the context of the entire conversations. With Outlook you can sort by subject, but if you have two conversations with a similar subject, good luck sorting that out.

There are a couple of important things you should know about when you are reading a threaded conversation in Gmail. The video above will demonstrate. If you didn’t already know about these tips, they will probably make your life a lot easier.


97 and Up Episode 18 – Direct Mail / Cold Calling and Google Analytics

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How to Use Google Keep to Keep Track of the Simple Stuff

Google Keep has been around for a while, and I’ve looked at it a number of times. Lately I’ve been looking at Google Keep some more. I am finding it really useful to use Google Keep to keep track of the simple stuff.

Google Keep does not allow you to use fancy formatting. It is, like I said, useful for keeping track of the simple stuff. There are different forms of notes, that you can use, like checklists, images, or a simple note. The mobile app works seamlessly with the browser app, and the location based reminders are pretty amazing.

The thing I seem to have cracked the code on, recently is in how to use the color coding. I would LOVE to be able to assign labels to the colors, but you can’t. This left we with the pain of figuring out where and how to define what they mean. I can’t rely on memory, but I wanted to figure this out. I knew that it would help to use Google Keep to keep track of the simple stuff.

Here’s what I came up with on the color coding. I created a label called “_Color Coding.” The underscore makes sure that this label appears at the top of the navigation. Then I created a note with each color and labeled them. This is actually a really cool way to organize my notes. Now I have anther great way to use Google Keep to keep track of the simple stuff.

People often ask me how I keep so organized, and how I can get so much done. You’re seeing an example of how I use just one tool to further that objective. It’s all about organizing, categorizing, and easily referencing information.

I recently published a post on the Intuit Accountants Blog called, “21 Proven Time Management Tips for Busy Accountants” In this post I mention Google Keep as one of the tools I use. Now you know precisely how I use Google Keep to keep track of the simple stuff.