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14 Gmail productivity tips to start using now

Discover easy Gmail productivity tips to improve your email management and boost efficiency. Learn how to master your Gmail inbox.

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    By Ilija

    An economist by degree, a marketing manager at heart. Seeing my website on the first page of Google is what excites me most. I write mostly about email productivity, email management and AI.

    Email is essential for work and communication, but if not managed well, it can also unfortunately cause productivity issues. More businesses (as well as schools and governments) are migrating to Google Apps which includes Gmail. Though the basics of Gmail are fairly simple, there are plenty of features to help improve your overall Gmail email productivity.

    Key Gmail productivity tips:

    • Task Management
    • Search by Size
    • If This Then That (IFTTT)
    • Selecting Multiple Emails
    • Advanced Search
    • Import Contacts
    • Send an Email Later
    • Smart Compose and Smart Reply
    • Mailbutler's Smart Assistant
    • Collaboration with Google Docs
    • Using Message Templates
    • Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts
    • Gmail Labelling
    • Using AI Tools for Gmail

    Task management

    The key to optimal Gmail productivity is managing your time well. Google Tasks provides a simple way of keeping track of annoying to-dos. Just click on the “Mail” drop-down menu on the upper left-hand side and select Tasks. After writing up your list, you can even email it to friends, coworkers, and family, giving them a little nudge in the right direction.

    Add tasks to Gmail


    Google Tasks makes it easy to turn emails into to-do items. Just click "Add to Tasks" while reading an email to link it to a new task. This keeps your tasks and related emails together. You can see your tasks on any device where you're signed into Google, like your phone or laptop. It works with Google Calendar too, so you can see tasks with deadlines right on your calendar.

    This helps you plan better. You can also email your task lists to others, which is great for working together with friends, family, or coworkers. This feature is really useful for staying organized and keeping everyone in the loop.

    Search by size

    In Gmail, when you're close to reaching your storage limit, finding large attachments can help clear space. You can easily search for big attachments by typing commands like size:10m in the search bar.


    This will show you all emails with attachments bigger than 10 MB. It's a quick way to identify which emails are taking up the most space, so you can delete them if they're not needed anymore.

    This feature is especially handy for those who frequently receive or send large files and need to manage their Gmail storage effectively. By regularly using this search function, you can keep your inbox organized and avoid reaching your storage capacity.

    If This Then That (IFTTT)

    If you're interested in connecting Gmail with other apps you love, If This Then That (IFTTT) is an excellent tool to explore. IFTTT uses simple 'recipes' that automate tasks between different services. For Gmail users, this can offer significant convenience.

    For example, you can set up a recipe to automatically save emails marked as Favorites to Evernote, making it easier to archive important messages.

    Another handy automation is creating copies of all your incoming email attachments in Google Drive. This feature is a lifesaver for those who regularly receive documents or images via email, ensuring that important files are backed up in Drive without manual effort.

    IFTTT's capabilities extend far beyond these uses. You can experiment with various combinations to suit your specific needs, like syncing Gmail with calendar apps, and task managers, or even integrating it with smart home devices.

    Selecting multiple emails

    Selecting multiple emails in Gmail can be done quickly. Start by clicking the checkbox of the first email you're interested in. Then, while pressing 'Shift', click the checkbox of the last email you want to include. This action will select all the emails between your first and last choices.

    It's a handy method for handling many emails together, whether you're organizing, deleting, or moving them to a folder. This trick is especially useful if you have a lot of emails to go through. Instead of clicking each email one by one, this method saves time and effort, making your email management much more efficient. It's great for tidying up your inbox or dealing with batches of related emails quickly.

    Advanced search

    To access these advanced features, click the arrow on the right side of the search box at the top of your email interface. This opens up the advanced search panel, where you can refine your search in several ways.

    Advanced search in Gmail

    In this panel, you have the option to search emails by specific metadata like sender (From), recipient (To), and Subject lines. This is particularly useful when you remember who sent the email or the topic but not other details. You can also filter emails that contain attachments, making it easier to locate documents or photos sent to you.

    Additionally, the advanced search allows you to include or exclude certain keywords. For example, if you're looking for emails about a project but want to exclude routine updates, you can tailor your search to ignore emails with words like "update" or "weekly." This level of detail in search criteria helps you quickly find the exact email you need, saving time and improving your efficiency.

    Import contacts

    Make good use of Gmail’s Contacts feature by importing a list of your favorite contacts. What you need is a CSV and a few minutes. Just click on the Contacts Tab, click Import, click Browse and select your CSV, and then click Import again.

    • Access Your Contacts: On the left side of your Gmail page, you'll see different options like "Mail," "Calendar," and "Contacts." Click on "Contacts" to open your contact list.
    • Start Import: Inside Gmail Contacts, look for the "Import" option. It's usually on the left side. Click on it.
    • Choose CSV File: A window will pop up asking you to select the CSV file you've prepared. Click on the "Browse" button and find your CSV file on your computer. Select it and click "Open."
    • Map Fields: Gmail will now show you a screen where you can match the information in your CSV file with the fields in Gmail. For example, you'll tell Gmail that the column with names in your CSV matches with the "Name" field in Gmail, and so on. This helps Gmail understand your data. Follow the instructions to do this.
    • Confirm and Import: After mapping the fields, click "Next" or "Import" to confirm. Gmail will start importing your contacts.
    • Done!: Gmail will let you know when the import is complete.

    Send an email later

    There’s a really useful email extension called Mailbutler that allows you to send an email now, but have it delivered at a later point in time. You can also use it to create follow-up reminders with Mailbutler in your inbox by archiving an email until a later point in time. You can even choose to be reminded only if the person has not responded to you after a specific amount of time.

    Mailbutler's recipient-optimized scheduling helps you send emails when recipients are most active, increasing the chances of quick responses. It uses recipient data to ensure your emails arrive at the perfect time.

    Smart Compose and Smart Reply

    Gmail's Smart Compose and Smart Reply features can significantly enhance email efficiency. Smart Compose, a built-in Gmail feature, leverages artificial intelligence to suggest and complete sentences as you type, making composing emails quicker and more precise. It learns from your writing style over time, offering increasingly personalized suggestions.

    On the other hand, Smart Reply generates context-aware response options for incoming emails, enabling you to reply with just a click.

    AI suggestions for email responses

    Mailbutler's Smart Assistant

    In comparison, Mailbutler Smart Assistant serves as an alternative solution, seamlessly integrating with your email client, including Gmail, to offer a similar experience. It provides AI suggestions for email responses, helping you draft messages faster and maintain a consistent tone.

    With the Smart Assistant, you can also:

    • respond to emails with 1 click
    • summarize emails with 1 click
    • compose emails based on a few keywords
    • create to-dos from emails
    • extracts and saves contact info from emails
    • improve spelling or grammar in your emails

    Collaboration with Google Docs

    Collaborating with Google Docs in your Gmail shared inbox is a helpful way to work together on documents. You can easily share and edit Google Docs files without leaving your Gmail account. This makes it simple to collaborate with others and get work done more efficiently.

    Whether you're part of a team or working individually, this feature saves time and makes document sharing and editing a breeze within your Gmail shared inbox.

    Using templates: Saving time with pre-written email responses

    Using Gmail templates means you can save time by having pre-written email responses ready to use. These templates are like pre-made messages that you can quickly insert into your emails, making your communication more efficient and helping you respond faster to common inquiries.

    Whether it's frequently asked questions, standard requests, or even personal greetings, Gmail templates enable you to respond swiftly, leaving you with more time to focus on other important tasks and ensuring that your emails are both efficient and engaging.

    Gmail keyboard shortcuts

    Gmail keyboard shortcuts

    Gmail's keyboard shortcuts offer a quick way to navigate and manage your emails more efficiently. To start using them, first ensure they are enabled in your Gmail settings. Once activated, you can use various key combinations to perform different actions without relying on your mouse.

    For example, pressing 'c' opens a new compose window, allowing you to start writing an email immediately. If you want to quickly search within your inbox, simply press '/' and the search bar becomes active, ready for your query. When browsing through your emails, 'j' and 'k' let you navigate to the next or previous email, respectively, making it faster to go through your messages.

    Other useful shortcuts include 'e' for archiving an email, 'm' to mute conversations, and '#' to delete an email. If you're reading an email and want to reply to it, just hit 'r', and for replying to all, use 'a'. These shortcuts significantly reduce the time and effort needed for common email tasks.

    Gmail labelling

    Gmail's labeling system is an excellent example of visually organizing your emails. Unlike traditional folders, labels in Gmail allow you to categorize emails in multiple ways. For example, an email from a colleague can be labeled both "Work" and "Urgent", providing a clearer context at a glance. Creating a new label is simple: on the left side of your Gmail screen, click 'More', then 'Create new label', and enter a name for your label. You can even nest labels under a parent label for a more hierarchical organization, which is particularly useful for managing large volumes of emails.

    Another great feature of Gmail labels is their color-coding option. You can assign different colors to different labels, making it easier to visually identify emails. For example, you could use red for urgent emails, blue for personal, and green for work-related emails. Applying labels can be done manually for each email or automatically by setting up rules and filters. These filters can label emails based on criteria such as sender, subject keywords, or content. This automatic categorization saves time and ensures that incoming emails are organized the moment they hit your inbox.

    Using AI tools for Gmail

    Adding Gmail AI email extensions like Mailbutler's Smart Assistant to Gmail can make managing your emails much easier. Mailbutler offers a range of helpful features. For example, it can suggest complete sentences while you're typing an email. This is great for quickly writing emails, especially if you often send similar messages.

    Mailbutler's Smart Assistant also helps you send emails at the right time. It can suggest when to send your emails based on when people usually read them. Plus, it can remind you to follow up on important emails if you haven't heard back. This helps make sure you don't forget to reply or miss important messages. Using Mailbutler with Gmail can really help make emailing faster and more organized, especially if you get a lot of emails or need to keep track of important conversations.


    This guide provides practical strategies for maximizing Gmail's potential, ensuring smoother management of your inbox and a more productive email experience.

    What are some of your favorite Gmail productivity tips and tricks? Leave us suggestions in the comments section.

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