Quick Tip No 22: Active Inbox and Boomerang

Email 200This is another email related Quick Tip helping you to get control of your emails in Gmail. I have been pretty happy with my zero Inbox email strategy over the last six months with a few exceptions (more on that later). Key of this strategy is that I only check emails when I am able to act on them by

  • archiving or deleting after I’ve read them
  • answering if the reply takes less than two minutes (after that I archive it) or
  • transferring the emails as a task to Asana

As a result, I only check my emails a few times a day and I have no read emails in my inbox that still require some action. I absolutely agree with the reasons Leo Babauta from Zen Habits lists for Why Your Email Inbox Is NOT a Good To-do List. These are:

  1. You can’t change the subject lines.
  2. There might be multiple actions in each email
  3. You can’t re-order the emails (usually).
  4. You can’t prioritize your to-dos.
  5. An email inbox contains distractions.

I would add two more

  • You cannot add notes to emails
  • emails are always sitting there and don’t become visible on a certain deadline (more…)
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How to not send Email on behalf of in Gmail

You can use Gmail to send emails with a different address

Gmail is not only great to store and keep all your emails organized for your Gmail address, you can also route all emails from other email account to your Gmail account. And the best is you can even send emails from this one Gmail account using  a different email address.

Let’s say Jenny Email as our favorite co-worker wants to set up her Gmail account to send emails via Gmail using her other address jennyemail@othermailservice.com.

There are two ways to accomplish this. One method uses the Gmail mail servers  and the other uses her other mailservice’ s outbound mail servers for sending emails. Both methods work great and the recipient of Jenny’s emails probably won’t notice any difference when they also use Gmail. They will only see that the emails were sent from jenny@othermailservice.com.

However, in other email programs like Outlook the recipients may see that the message was send from jennyemail@gmail.com on behalf of jennyemail@othermailservice.com. As a result they may send the email back to Jenny using her Gmail address, which can be a problem if for example she wanted to keep copies of all her work related emails on the other mail server.

 

Gmail using SMTP

 

Configure Gmail to send Emails via another SMTP server

or how to not send  Email on behalf of

First access your Gmail settings by clicking on the gear symbol on the top right side and selecting Settings on the menu that opens.

Settings

Next select the Accounts and Import tab and look at the Send mail as: section. Here you can see that Jenny already added her jennyemail@othermailservice.com account. Otherwise by clicking on Add another email address you own you could do just that.

Gmail Settings accounts

By clicking on edit info the right of the alternative email address a new window opens. Un-check Treat as an alias if you don’t want to get unread copies of the email you sent in your inbox (they will also appear in among your sent emails). I recommend doing so.

You could also define another “reply-to” address, but for now simply click on the Next Step button.

Gmail Edit email address

This opens the final window where you can add either select to use the Gmail mail servers or the actual SMTP servers of your other email address. You may have to ask you IT department for the correct SMTP server address and Port if you want to use your email from work.  Port 587 will work on most cases and you can find a list of SMTP of the most free email services here.

Enter your email log-in information. Gmail will immediately connect to the SMTP server and notify you of errors.

Gmail edit email address SMTP server

Don’t forget to click the Save Changes button. That’s it! Now you will not send Email on behalf of anymore you’ll be able to use Gmail with your other email address like it was also a Gmail address.

 

 

 

 

 

How to undo send in Gmail

Do you want to undo sending an Email?

You wrote this elaborate email to all your project partners … click send… and then realize this second you forgot to copy your boss. Now you have to send this email to everyone else again. Or you forgot to add the promised attachment. Or realized you forgot to spell-check. Whatever the reason, Gmail allows you to un-send an email with the right app installed.

How to enable Undo Send in Gmail:

1. Click  Settings

Access Gmail settings

2. Select  the Labs tab

Labs

3. Scroll down and enable the Undo Send application

Enable Undo send

4. Don’t forget to click Save changes

 

That’s it. The next time you send an email you will see this on top of the Gmail window:

Message has been sent

Simply click Undo and you never sent the email. Like all other undos in Gmail the chance lasts only to your next action.

 

 

 

Gmail reply box too small

The Problem:

When composing a new message the size of the box you are supposed to type your text in is alright, but when you answer to an email the box becomes tiny. Particularly on a widescreen laptop screen you are only given about one fifth of the screen for your response. The Gmail reply box is really way too small this way, it is almost impossible to read the email you are responding to, which forces you to permanently scroll up and down.

The Solution:

Simply click the diagonal arrow in the right corner of your response box.
This will open a new window, which when maximized gives your plenty of room for your response.

Reply, open in new window

Alternatively you can press ALT when clicking “Reply” to open a new window:

new Gmail window

A nice side effect is that your original Gmail tab will still be there to check back and search other emails if needed for your response. I used to open duplicate tabs, which was a bit confusing because suddenly I had two open tabs with my response. I really got used to answering emails in a new window. With F11 you can toggle full-screen mode on and off, which makes the box even bigger.