7 Pro tips from gmail power users

Pro tip #1 -- Create a simple process for managing email

Can you describe your process for managing email? Most people can’t. Most of us simply click through emails, answering some, marking ‘unread’ for those emails that we need to return to later. Several productivity consultants have developed approaches to managing email, and you can read some detailed guides here & here. The simplest framework for managing email goes like this:

Whenever you click an email, force yourself to take one of 3 actions:

  1. Archive the email (no need to delete, as you might want to reference later)
  2. Respond right away if it only takes 1 minute
  3. If a response would take more than 1 minute, add it to your ‘to do’ list. Add the mail URL or some context so you can find the email thread later on.

Pro-tip #2. add context to your 'to-do' list by adding email urls. 

You can copy the URL of any email & save in a document for reference later on. Remember these links are unique for your email inbox, so you can’t share them. I still find it useful for adding context to my to-dos/ action items:


Pro-tip #3: Enable Priority Inbox.

Designed for power email users. 3 different inboxes (Important & Unread, Starred, and Everything Else). To enable:

You can use the “starred’ folder as an ad-hoc “to-do” list. This comes in handy when you are busting through tons of emails and need to take note of what’s important to respond to later on.

Pro-tip #4: Enable Undo Send

Delays sending of your email for 10,20,or 30 seconds. This allows you to “undo” emails that were sent too soon.

Pro-Tip #5: Enable Canned Responses

Saves template emails to use over and over. A helpful alternative to copy/pasting. Enable in Gmail settings → LABS→ Canned Responses.


pro-tip #6: Gmail App on iOS & Android

Most Apple users have the Apple Mail client set up, including myself. Ever tried to search for an old email? The search functionality sucks. Download the gmail app as a backup. If you are on the go and need to find an old email, you will have the full functionality of the gmail web app on your smartphone. (including advanced searches)



pro tip #7: Advanced search guide

Helpful search operators for gmail.