For over a decade, Gmail has been my go-to email provider. One of my favorite aspects of Gmail is the various features, add-ons, integrations you can implement to help with productivity. This post details my top 5 tools to manage your Gmail inbox and how to use them.
Before We Get Started
This list details my top favorite tools. They are based on my preferences and my workflows. I am writing about them because they might fit your needs, but there are definitely other tools out there.
5 Tools To Manage Your Gmail Inbox
1. Send Email As
Do you have multiple email accounts? I do.
However, I can use my main Gmail account to send emails as if I were on another account.
This really helps my productivity because I don’t have to spend time logging into various email accounts. It helps me have one centralized place to send all my emails.
Under Settings, navigate to Accounts and Import tab. In the section Send mail as: you can add email addresses that you would like to send messages from.
When you add an email address, a confirmation number will be sent to the original email inbox, which you need to enter.
In this section, you also have two options When replying to a message:
- Reply from the same address the message was sent to
- Always reply from default address
The first option is especially useful if you have numerous email accounts and aliases that you want to manage in a single account.
In order to send an email as if from another account, simply compose a New Message and in the From section, click the drop-down arrow and select the email address you want to use.
2. Undo Send
Have you ever sent an email and immediately wished you could unsend it? Yeah, so have I.
Years ago, I discovered the ‘Undo Send’ feature when it was part of Google Labs (a place to test new features and products). It’s now an integrated feature in Gmail.
This feature helps my productivity because it keeps me sane. No matter how many times I might recheck an email, sometimes I only notice an issue after I send it.
Under Settings, navigate to the General tab. In the Undo Send section you can set the amount of time you have to undo the sending of a message (5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds).
After writing and sending a message, on the bottom left corner of your screen a box will appear that says Message Sent and right next to it will be the option to Undo. If you click on Undo within the cancellation time window, then your message will not be sent.
3. Schedule Send
Have you ever written an email but needed to hold off on actually sending it? I have.
In 2019, Google rolled out a scheduled send feature, which gives users the option to pick the date and time when emails are sent.
This is especially useful when you want to send a message to someone, but you don’t want them to receive it immediately. For example, I’ve used this feature to compose and time messages to individuals that I didn’t want to bother on a weekend.
This feature helps my productivity because I don’t hold off on writing emails. I simply write emails when I have the time and schedule them when I want them sent.
In order to use the Scheduled Send feature, just Compose a new message and make sure to list at least one recipient. Instead of clicking the ‘Send’ button, you will click the small triangle to the right of the word ‘Send’ and click on ‘Schedule Send.’
A pop up will appear that offers suggested dates and times, as well as the option to ‘Pick date & time‘.
If you select ‘Pick date & time‘ then another pop-up will appear that will allow you to customize when to send the email.
Once you select the date and time, click ‘Schedule Send’. You can then see all your ‘Scheduled’ emails in the designated Gmail folder.
4. Add Email as a Task – Todoist
Have you ever meant to respond to an email, but forgot? I’ve been there.
The Todoist Gmail plug-in helps my productivity because I can immediately assign a date (and even time) to respond to an email, thus making it an actionable task. This prevents me from forgetting to respond to emails that I can’t get to immediately.
You can get this plug-in via the Todoist website or the Google Chrome Webstore. There are various pricing packages and I do pay for the Premium version, but this plug-in is available in the free version.
Once you have downloaded and installed the plug-in, a Todoist icon will appear when you go to read your emails.
Click on the Icon and a ‘Quick Add’ window should pop up. The default description will be the subject of the email (you can change this). Here, you can set the date (and time) for when you want to respond. Once you have set everything to your liking, just click Add Task.
5. Remove Attachments – Dittach
Are you at your storage limit, but can’t really delete anymore emails? Me too.
I’ve been using Gmail for over a decade and I’m often at the 15GB space limit. I don’t want to pay for extra storage, but I don’t want to delete certain emails.
I recently discovered Dittach. This integration allows you to delete attachments from an email, but not the email itself. This is especially helpful if you want to retain an email or email thread, but don’t need all the attachments (e.g., all the versions of a working document, attachments that you already downloaded and filed, data-heavy email signatures, etc.).
The Dittach integration helps my productivity because I don’t have to worry about deleting emails and losing potentially valuable information to free up my inbox.
Once installed, there are two main ways I use Dittach.
The first is if I have the email or email thread open containing the attachments I want to delete. Click on the icon and window will pop-up asking you to whether you want to ‘Delete all attachments on this thread?’ If you do, then you will Click Delete.
The second way I use Dittach is deleting attachments through the sidebar (you can easily hide this so it’s not always in view).
The sidebar gives you an overview of all your attachments. If you Click on an Attachment, then Click Delete, 3 options will pop-up: 1) delete just the displayed attachment, 2) delete all attachments in the email, or 3) delete the entire email. Select your option and then Click Delete one more time.
Many email productivity blog posts discuss tips surrounding attaining ‘Inbox Zero’ aka an empty inbox. While this is a noble task, I feel that some of the habits that are prescribed to attain this pristine inbox state can easily consume people. This post offered a different take on email inbox productivity.
My goal with this post was to offer my top 5 tools that I use to manage my Gmail inbox. Each tool addresses a different need of mine and, perhaps, a need of yours too.
There are numerous tools out there to help you manage your inbox in a way that complements your workflow and habits. I hope this post was a useful starting point in helping you find the tools that work for you.
What Gmail tools will you try out from this post? Is there a tool you love that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below!
Updated February 2020