On March 9, 2016 DoIT’s instructional team hosted a new event called Techfest, an event that would bring the campus community together and present ways that technology can both support and improve the efficiency of day-to-day activities. One of the several panels being presented was by Jack Suess of DoIT, who gave his own personal tips & tricks to managing your Gmail.
Suess is no stranger to email, having setup the first email system here at UMBC in 1983. In an average week he receives about 1750 messages with an average of 300 per business day. Jack mentioned that he remembered hearing that President Teddy Roosevelt was a prolific letter writer, believed to have written 100,000 letters in his own lifetime. Suess noted that as of March 7th, 2016, he had 78,783 messages in his sent-mail folder that corresponds to his sent-mail since 2005 and is presently utilizing over 23GB of storage for his Gmail.
A 1995 issue of Computerworld. The article goes on to mention that back then Suess would get 1,200 emails a week and spend four hours a day just responding to them.
Here are Suess’ key tips for managing Gmail along with some video tutorials:
This helps automatically sort what type of emails you get into their own tabs. By clicking the gear icon in the top right of Gmail and then clicking “Configure Inbox” you can enable tabs for Social, Promotion and more. “When messages are mis-categorized, drag the message to the proper folder and gmail will learn that you want it here in the future,” said Suess.
2. Bulk deleting emails.
Key: In any of the new category tabs -- Suess demo’d in “promotions” -- the key is clicking the select box of one message and then holding the shift key & click to select everything from the first click. This allowed Suess to select 47 emails down the inbox at once to bulk delete in less than 20 seconds. Jokingly, Suess said “I know if I made a mistake in promotions I know I’ll get the promotion the next day.”
One feature some people might enable is priority inbox, which sorts your email based on highest priority rather than chronological order. While this can be a very powerful feature for people with limited time, Suess advised that it’s not for everyone. “I would propose to people is to never adopt priority inbox during a busy time. This would be something to do during a quiet period.” he said.
Located in Settings, Suess showed the Labs menu where Google displays experimental features that add more functionality to Gmail. One feature Suess has enabled is “Quote Selected Text” which quotes the text you have selected when you reply to a message.
He also shared a trick not found in Gmail itself. Boomerang for Gmail is a separate download that allows you to schedule an email to be sent at a later time. “I can Boomerang a message to be sent out a week from now,” said Suess.
4. Vacation messages
Located in the Settings using the gear icon in the top right, Suess showed where to set vacation messages, how long you are gone and a custom message to send when someone emails you, or even limit this to just UMBC addresses. However, he also offered the ultimate email tip when you are on vacation. “Go to Hawaii as it’s 9 hours ahead, so by the time you’ve looked it’s most likely been resolved.”
5. Controlling your Inbox
Even with the volume of email he receives, Suess keeps his unread messages under twenty. He gave the following tips he uses:
* Use Categories, this makes it easy to move less important messages into categories outside your primary category. By doing this you can more quickly go through email and get rid of the messages you don’t want;
* Instead of leaving the message as unread if you want to go back to the message, use the star in Gmail to allow you to quickly identify messages you want to go back to;
* Use fewer labels -- Gmail has great search capabilities, by lessening the number of labels you use it makes it easier to file your email, Suess stated he uses only ten folders; and
* Use Gmail Tasks - For any email that requires a response that you can’t get done right away, use Gmail tasks. Under the Move button, there is a menu item Add to Tasks, by creating a task, the email is automatically linked to that task, you can set a date and link these tasks to your Google Calendar.
If you want to learn more about Gmail or have any questions, DoIT has extensive FAQs on Gmail.