As much as I try to fight it, there’s no getting away from email. So instead of fighting it, I’ve learn to accept it as part of my daily routine and make it work for me. Over the years I’ve picked up some tips and tricks that I live by to keep my email organized.

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

Folders

I have several folders created within my inbox, but there’s 3 that really help me to stay organized. 1) Waiting to hear back: I bcc myself on emails that I really need a response from others on and then move it to this folder. If you don’t bcc yourself on the email, you can simply dig these out of your sent folder. 2) To do next week: I check this folder every Sunday and follow up as needed. These are emails that aren’t urgent and/or will take a while to respond to. If I know an email isn’t going to get responded to this week, I like being able to move it out of my inbox. 3) Confirmations: including flight confirmations, Amazon orders, etc.

Filter, Filter, Filter

As a Gmail user, I use the Promotions & Social filters religiously! If you receive an email that isn’t worthy of going straight to your inbox, but instead is more of a Promotion or Social (think Facebook notification emails), simply drag it over to the Promotion or Social tab and click “yes” to the ‘do this action next time’ pop up.

The 2 Minute Rule

The two-minute rule can really apply to any task you have, including emails. If it can be done in 2 minutes, do it now! It will get off your mind and out of your inbox. Otherwise you’ll likely spend MORE than 2 minutes on the email every time you open your inbox and see that email sitting there. Most emails can be answered in five sentences or less so there’s no reason not to tackle!

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

Schedule

Years ago I read somewhere that the average person checks their email before brushing their teeth in the morning. I thought that sounded ridiculous until I realized that I did that EVERY day! I’m also guilty of being in the car as a passenger or even standing in line at the grocery store while checking email with no intention of replying right then. STOP THIS! It’s wasted time if you’re not able to do anything about the email you’re reading. Yes, I realize some of us have jobs where we need to be reading email at all times, but unless you’re one of those people, grocery line email checking is probably not productive!

Instead, schedule times in your day where you’re going to focus on email. Even if that means 10 minutes every hour to start off with. I started off scheduling 10 times a day (yes 10!) and then was able to move down to 3 specific times a day where I’m focusing on reading & responding to new incoming email.

Turn OFF Notifications

My phone (and ipad) used to light up every time I received a new email and of course I would jump to read it. I’d see the email popup on my ipad while Joe & I were watching TV and spend the entire time wondering what the email was about instead of watching the show. What a waste! Now this is an obvious tip, but turn OFF all those notifications. I don’t even want to know if I have new messages until I actually go into my email account.

Unsubscribe

The last step for organizing your email should be to unsubscribe from emails you don’t want to see. I used to simply delete the emails instead of taking the 30 seconds (or less!) to unsubscribe. I always worried that maybe sometime I’d miss a future email that I really wanted so I wouldn’t unsubscribe. I changed my tune and strongly believe in getting OFF the email lists that are not benefiting you. Yes, you could always just delete the emails when they come to your inbox, but wouldn’t it be nice if you never received them in the first place?

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

May you all see an EMPTY inbox!

 

 

 

 

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

 

 

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

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Back when I was working in an office I actually hated working from home and rarely took the opportunity. So when I started working from home full time, it was a HUGE adjustment for me. While I always thought I was pretty darn organized, this was new territory for me. I couldn’t concentrate and always felt like I was just ‘hanging out’ although I definitely wasn’t. But once I was more intentional about replicating my ‘in the office’ behaviors, my productivity at home nearly doubled!

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!Here’s what I learned after a month of working from home!

1 Get ready for work right when you get up in the morning, not say …. an hour in to doing work.  Originally I would wake up and start working right away in the morning, but still hadn’t changed out of my pajamas, washed my face or brushed my teeth. I’m not sure that I became more productive by getting ready first, but I definitely felt better!

2 Although I still wear sweats every day during the day, I did opt to wear ‘nicer’ ones that my standard lounging around ‘I should probably throw away they’re so old‘ clothes. It made me feel more put together.

3 We still haven’t gotten blinds in our new townhouse, so in the morning I work in the kitchen because the sunlight hits right on my eyes in the office. Then afternoon I switch to our office. Although not intentional (obviously I should buy blinds!), even when we do get blinds I will still continue this mid day desk switch as it makes for a really nice change of scenery.

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!

4 Each night before I go to bed I create a to-do list of the essentials that I need to get done the next day. If you’re someone who’s work allows you to pick and choose what you’re going to do each day, I think this is essential. This also really helps me know when to ‘turn it off’ as there’s ALWAYS work to do. Once I finish the critical items I can then decide how much longer I want to work that day.

5 Each Sunday I spend about 15 minutes planning out my entire week on my Google calendar. I’m talking hour to hour scheduling! Everything gets a calendar invite and everything is planned out in advance. At first it did feel a little odd to plotting out which times I was taking a break to take Reagan (our new puppy) to the dog park or do chores around the house, but it really helped provide structure. This also helped me see exactly how long I was working for. Sometimes when working from home it can seem like you’re ALWAYS working but in reality that wasn’t’ the case for me.

6 Make sure to set boundaries and ensure everyone knows that you’re WORKING from home. It’s always always always nice to help out friends and spouses during the day when you can, but it’s up to you to use your time as productively as possible. Typically when I don’t get enough work done during the day I end up making up for it in the evenings.

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!

7 One of the biggest adjustments in working from home for me was not having coworkers to interact with throughout the day. Not only is it nice to bounce ideas off of someone, it helps to have someone else to chat with periodically to break up the day! Initially I made the rookie mistake of having the TV during the day, just as background noise. Then I started finding myself getting a little too sucked in to the episode (embarrassingly it was Gossip Girl). That’s when I made the switch to listening to music while I work.

8 If you’ll have a schedule where you can decide WHEN you work, it’s a nice perk to be able to take advantage of getting some couple household things done during the day. From experience I can tell you that grocery stores are near EMPTY on Tuesdays at 9am! The consolation may be that you need to adjust your work schedule to do work in the evenings and weekends.  I’d give you the low down on what the gyms look like mid week, but I’m still working on getting that gym membership 🙂 .

 

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!

 

 

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I’m a big fan of the Google suite of products. As a long time Outlook lover it took me a while to jump on board, but once I realized that Google had so much more than just email (Hangouts, Calendar, Surveys, Google docs, etc.), I was hooked. So many applications in one location? Sign me up! (See my past posts on Hangouts and Gmail.)

Google Docs somewhat mirrors Microsoft Office, with some major differences included the following awesome features that you should definitely be taking advantage of! Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

Live in COLOR | When creating a folder simply click on the drop-down menu next to each folder to edit the color. I use color as another way to organize my folders.

Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

There is no “I” in “Team” | Gone are the days when each person has to wait their turn to edit a document. You can not only share your Google doc with others, you can actively collaborate on the same document at the SAME time with others. Select the ‘Share’ button in the top right corner, type in the email address of the collaborator and select which type of access they should have! Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!Go back in the past | You can easily find past revisions of your document by going to File -> See Revision History. This will take you to all the times that you (or others) have made a change on a document. Another nice feature is that it shows WHO made the revisions for documents that you’re collaborating on.

Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

Recently? | One of the nifty ways to overcome searching through folders and folders to find that one document is to select the ‘Recent’ tab on the left hand side. This will sort your documents & folders based on when the last edits were made. TIME SAVER.

Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

Distraction Free | To really get ‘in the zone’ on a document, get rid of the top bar. To do this click the two arrows on the top right hand side of the screen.  This will push up the menus and leave you with the bare minimum to allow you to focus that attention on the document at hand.

Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

Research it! | A rather hidden feature in Google docs is the ‘Research’ tab, but once you find it, you’ll realize how amazing it is. Simply go to “Tools” and hit “Research” to ‘research’ (aka search) any topic you choose straight from your document. No more toggling between webpages! You can also pull images and links straight over to your document.

Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

Style Me | Fonts are another feature that’s pretty well hidden, but really should be front and center. At the very bottom of the ‘Font’ drop down select ‘More Fonts’. Say goodbye to Arial!Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

Typing is SO 2015 | Start ‘typing’ with your voice! Simply go to “Tools” and “Voice Typing” to get started. Google will type what you speak. You’ll need to open your document using the Chrome browser & have a microphone on your computer. Then you can write an entire document without even typing!

Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

May all your organizational needs be fulfilled with Google docs!

 

 

Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

 

Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

 

 

 

Make sure you're utilizing Google Docs to the fullest with these amazing tips and tricks that you probably didn't realize existed!

 

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Those crazy little Gmail hacks that make life oh so much easier!

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

I’m a huge Google fan. I love that it has a suite of products (email, calendar, docs, surveys, hangout) all built in to one account to make life easier. Added perk is only one password to remember! But admittedly I wasn’t always a Gmail fan. I’m loyal and stick to what I know … which is Outlook. Yet my more tech savvy husband, Joe, convinced me of the Gmail appeal. Over the years, I’ve reluctantly admitted he was right.

Last week I shared the step by step to using Hangouts effectively, so today I want to share with you the top 7 Gmail hacks I’ve learned along the way. And some of these may or may not have been taught to me by Joe 🙂 .

1 Canned Responses

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!If you commonly compose and reply with the same message over and over, you could benefit from the “canned response” feature. This lets you create automatic responses that you can insert in to your email and tweak as needed without having to manually type out the whole thing. Call it the lazy girl tip to sending emails. In order to enable this feature, click the gear in the top right corner. Select “Settings” and go to the “Labs” tab. Then enable “Canned Responses” and save.Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

Now when you open up an email you can create and/or add an existing canned massage. Brilliant.Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

2 Unsend Emails

Ever accidently hit send mid email? Or ever send a hasty email that you wish you could take back? (Yep, I’ve done this one too.) The good news is that you CAN take those emails back up to 30 seconds after you hit “send”. In order to enable this feature, go back to Settings, scroll down to “Undo Send”. Check the button and select the cancelation period. Then save.

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

When you send a future email, you’ll see this bar below up top. Life. Saver.

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

3 Multiple Email Accounts

I have a couple different gmail accounts, one for my blog and one for personal. Some of you may have multiple gmail accounts too (for example, if you set up a new email address when changing your last name after getting married). You can add up to 5 Gmail accounts under one. This is super convenient if you don’t want to manually log in and out of each of your accounts. To set this up simple go back to your Settings, click on the “Accounts” tab, then click “Add another email address.”

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

Then when you send an email you’ll see the “from” line which you can change to any of your gmail addresses.Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!4 Folders

In general Gmail isn’t a huge fan of folders, but I am. It’s the one feature that I love more than anything. I like my email organized just like I like my life organized. To set these up, go back to “Settings”, then select the “Labels” tab. Scroll down to the bottom and create any new Labels that you want. Google may call them “Labels”, but I use them as “Folders”. Sorry Google.

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

Now when you look over to your left side bar, you’ll see the Folders.  You can easily move your emails in to the folders by clicking on the email and dragging in to the folder. OR clicking on the email and selecting the Labels drop down at the top.

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

5 Send Email Later

I’m one of those people who works late at night and on the weekends. But to all my coworkers, I’m likely rather frustrating because no one wants to get emails when they’re not working. Enter Boomerang. The magical ability to send your emails at a future date. Gmail does not have this feature directly, BUT the Gmail extension, Boomerang, will do the trick. First, simply download the Boomerang extension. Log in to Gmail. Start composing a new email. Now you’ll see a red “Send Later” button. Select WHEN you want the email to send and hit “Confirm”.

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

6 See which emails are sent JUST to You

When you log in to check your email it’s easy to see which emails are sent JUST to you vs you & other recipients. To activate, go back in to Settings, scroll to the bottom to “Personal Level Indicators”, select “Show Indicators”.

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

Now when you log in to your email, you’ll be able to see which emails were sent just to you vs you & others.

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!7 Archiving Emails

Archiving Emails is a great way to keep your inbox clean without forever deleting emails. You never know when you might need one of those old emails again. If you need the later on, you can simply search for it to retrieve it!

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

Hope you found these helpful. I’ve grown to love Google products, as they’ve definitely helped me stay organized over the years. Now that you’ve got these tricks up your sleeve, you can ruthlessly organize your email!

 

 

 

 

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

 

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

 

 

Check out these 7 top Gmail hacks to make your email more efficient and effective! Who knew Gmail had all these hidden features!

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Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.

My girlfriends in college and I thought we’d always live in the same city. After college (Miami University in Ohio) most of us moved to Chicago and saw each other daily. Sure enough, spouses, kids, and jobs started to change things. Some moved out to the suburbs and others, like me, moved across the country.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a sad story. We still all get together regularly (weddings and baby showers will keep trips lined up for years to come 🙂 ). But there’s also a lot more phone calls. I think of my group of friends as smart, savvy, intelligent and any other adjectives that describes brilliant. Yet, every time the group tries to get on Google Hangouts, at least one of us has problems connecting. We spend half the call like this: “can you see me”, “I can’t see you, but I can hear you”, “is your sound on”.  So … taking matters in to my own hands, I put together this guide for my friends so that there was no more Google Hangout chaos.

What is Google Hangout?

It’s Google’s free video-conferencing tool that allows up to 10 participants to join at a time.

Who can use Google Hangout?

In order to use this free feature all you need is a Google Plus account. If you already have a Gmail account, then you automatically have a Google Plus account! So just make sure everyone who will be participating on the hangout has Gmail.

Ensure that your laptop/desktop has both a webcam and a speaker (or headphones that you can speak in to). These are essential. If it doesn’t, opt for an ipad or smart phone. You can download the Google Hangouts app for free.

Now let’s get started.

The following is a story of two Lindsay’s connecting via Google Hangout. Lindsay Crazy is calling Lindsay Organized.

Lindsay Crazy initiates the call by logging in to her Gmail so she can get to Google+:
Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.

Then she selects the ‘Hangouts’ icon, which has two locations to choose from:Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.

She’s then directed to a new page (and ensures that her pop up blockers are down). She select ‘Video Call’.Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.

Now she invites her friend, Lindsay Organized, by typing in her email address. (She could have typed in just Lindsay Organized if she had added Lindsay Organized as one of her Gmail contacts.) If she wanted to, she could have invited more friends to the call in this same section. She then selects ‘Invite’.Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.Now Lindsay Crazy just has to sit back and wait for Lindsay Organized to answer. This is Lindsay Crazy waiting patiently :).Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.Lindsay Organized now needs to answer. She’ll do this by logging in to her Google+ account and selecting the gray ‘Hangout’ button. Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.Now she’s able to see that Lindsay crazy is calling her. (Yep, none of the Lindsays think this is very intuitive either.) She clicks on the Hangout icon.Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.OR …. she could have gone back in to her Gmail. If the person calling her was previously programmed in to her Gmail contacts, then the screen below will appear. She could then just click on the Hangouts icon from her email view. Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.TADA!

Lindsay Crazy & Lindsay Organized are connected! (This is Lindsay Organized’s screen view) You’ll always see your friend in the big screen and a tiny version of what you look like in the small screen on the bottom right. Notice there’s a dark gray icon bar on the top. This has options such as muting, removing the video, inviting more people and hanging up the call. Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.

Now that you know HOW to use Google Hangouts, here’s some great uses:

  • Chat with your girlfriends accross the country
  • Let grandparents see their grandkids in action!
  • For phone calls where you want to SHOW the other person something
  • Work conference calls

 

May you all be able to have fun conversations with your girlfriends, wherever you’re located!

 

 

Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.

 

Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.

 

 

 

Get the full tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts with step by step photos! Video conferencing guide from a laptop, desktop, smart phone or tablet.

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