Home > Articles

Increasing Your Gmail Productivity

Has email taken over your day? In this chapter from Gmail Tips, Tricks, and Tools: Streamline Your Inbox, Increase Your Email Productivity, and Save Hours a Week, Patrice-Anne Rutledge will show you a four-step process for resolving email overwhelm, how to clean up your inbox, process your email, and manage multiple email accounts.
This chapter is from the book

Before you implement the Gmail tips, tricks, and tools covered in this book, it’s important to take some time to identify your current email challenges, clean up your inbox, and devise a new system for managing your email.


A four-step process can help you get out of email overwhelm. Following this process helps you get the most out of this book and create a personalized Gmail management system that takes advantage of all the latest technology available to you, yet is customized to the way you work and the email problems you need to resolve.


Before making any changes to how you use Gmail or implementing any new tools, take some time to think about what your current email challenges are. If you purchased this book, you obviously want to save time by becoming a more productive Gmail user, but there are obstacles in your way.

Which of these common problems do you identify with?

  • I’m overwhelmed with the volume of email I receive.
  • I check email too often looking for important messages.
  • I’m using only basic Gmail features and haven’t had time to learn and implement anything new.
  • I forget to respond to important messages.
  • I’m not able to find old or archived messages.
  • I read the same messages multiple times before taking action.

If you’re like most people, you could probably check off several of these items. Before I started using my current Gmail system, I was overwhelmed with messages (thousands of them in my inbox) and spent too much time checking for critical messages.


After you identify the email challenges you want to resolve, read through this book with an eye to related solutions. Solving your email challenges is often a combination of implementing the following:

  • Gmail features you’re not currently using—Many Gmail users don’t go beyond the basics of sending, viewing, and responding to messages. Effectively maximizing the potential of Gmail features such as labels, filters, tabs, stars, and Gmail Labs tools can make a big difference in your email productivity. See Chapter 3, “Maximizing Gmail Efficiency,” and Chapter 4, “Using Gmail Labs Features,” to learn more. In addition, Chapter 5, “Using Inbox by Gmail,” covers Google’s time-saving email management app.Figure 1.1 shows an example of filters, a popular and powerful Gmail feature.
  • Gmail third-party tools—Numerous third-party tools exist that extend Gmail’s functionality and connect it with other popular applications. Chapter 6, “Extending Gmail with Third-Party Tools,” and Chapter 7,“Extending Gmail with Browser Tools,” introduce you to many of these tools.Figure 1.2 shows an example of a popular third-party tool, Boomerang for Gmail.

    FIGURE 1.1

    FIGURE 1.1 If you receive a lot of messages, using filters can save you hours a month.

    FIGURE 1.2

    FIGURE 1.2 Schedule email to send later and track messages with a third-party tool such as Boomerang for Gmail.

  • Email productivity methodologies—You can’t control your Gmail inbox with tools alone, no matter how innovative or powerful they are. You must combine them with a solid email management process. See “Processing Your Email,” later in this chapter, to learn how to create a system that works for you.


Next, delete any messages you obviously don’t need from your inbox and unsubscribe from any newsletters you don’t read. This one-time task will help purge your inbox of unnecessary items before you start organizing it and implementing the tools and techniques described in this book. See “Cleaning Up Your Inbox,” later in this chapter, for more information.


After reading this book and getting a first-hand look at the available Gmail features and tools, select and implement the ones that best meet your needs.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020