Gmail is something we use every day, but few educators maximize the capabilities. There are some simple, yet powerful, Gmail tools that you can use to become more efficient with what can sometimes become a blackhole….your email inbox. The six tips below will help you keep your inbox clean and help you stay organized.
Tip #1: Archive vs Delete
One of the easiest ways to organize your inbox is to keep it clean. However, people are generally afraid to delete a message fearing that at some point they will need it in the future. The solution to this problem is simply archiving the message instead of deleting it. Archiving keeps individual emails hidden away but accessible through the search within Gmail. Whereas, if you delete a message they will eventually be completely removed from your account after thirty days. So, next time you contemplate whether you need to keep an email or not…don’t think, just archive it!
Tip #2: Boomerang Add-on
Need to send an email but at a later time/date? Want to get rid of an email in your inbox but you know you will need it down the road? The Google Chrome Extension, Boomerang, is your solution. By installing this add-on you can compose an email and then schedule a date and time that it is sent. The best part is how easy Boomerang makes this process. Once it has been installed, you will see a Send Later button directly below the normal Send button. Simply click the Send Later button and you are given the opportunity to send the email whenever you choose. Boomerang also allows you to get rid of a received message and bring it back whenever you need it. This add-on allows you to plan ahead and stay organized all in one.
Tip #3: Filters
Filters are an efficient way to save all the great newsletters and articles you want to read for another day. Or, what about emails that you get daily from the same person or business that doesn’t fall under the urgent or read now category? What if you could have those emails bypass your inbox and be labeled for you to access when you are ready? Then, when you have time to stop and read a few articles, click on the label and read away.
Tip #4: Labels
Labels are a nice visual way to tag or categorize your emails. You can create labels that are unique to your needs. Once you create labels they will show up on the left side of the page. If you prefer, you can even color code your labels for quick and easy identification. Think of this as a way to sort your messages for easy retrieval later. You can also create filters to sort email into certain labels and emails can have multiple labels if needed.
Tip #5: Canned Responses
A great time saving solution for sending the same message multiple times is to leverage the canned response feature. By using the canned response, you not only save time, but you also ensure you are sending a consistent message to your recipients. Canned responses are sometimes overlooked because they are located in the lab section of settings. You must go to settings and enable the canned response feature. Once you have the canned response feature turned on, it will be found in the bottom right of every email you compose. Canned responses are simple to manage and even easier to use. Whether you are communicating a message to parents, students, or teachers, this is one feature you will want to try this year.
Tip #6: Use Read Receipts
Ever wonder if anyone opened an important email? Read receipts are a quick way to let you know your message has been viewed. Google sends you an email that even includes what time the message was opened. This is a wonderful feature to use on the occasional document of high importance. The best part of using read receipts the ease of mind knowing the email reached the viewer.
Note: When sending a group message using read receipts, include the names of all recipients in the bcc: section. Read receipts are sent to everyone in the to: and cc: fields. Be kind to your recipients, and use the bcc feature.
Written by Jeffrey Bernadt (@jeffreybernadt), Jeanette Carlson (@mrsjcarlson), and Ann Feldmann (@annfeldmann1)