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…)
February 3rd, 2014|Tags: , |

Email Tip No2: Table of Contents for Long Emails

Email 200You are afraid people may not read this long email and thus miss the important information it contains? I know, sometimes we simply have to write long emails.

A meeting may not be possible and the situation is just complicated. But I’ve also heard the notion “When the email is longer than two paragraphs, I am not reading it!” more than once. Avoiding long and often pointless email rants is indeed a good method to be efficient with emails.

So if there is really no way to shorten what you want to say any more and it is still an epic email, then I suggest you start with a brief introduction why you are writing the email and then continue with an inventory of the parts of your email. Sort of a table of contents if you will; like you would have in a report. (more…)

October 7th, 2013|Tags: , , |

Email Tip No1: Summarize Your Email in the Subject Line

Email tipsSo many unread emails! You’d like to know with just a glance which ones are the most important? Good luck with that.

Let’s see: Several emails from your boss titled ‘report’, ‘meeting’, ‘paycheck’, and ‘your last day!’ from your boss, one from your coworker titled ‘question’, then a couple emails from people you’ve met at the conference last week, all titled ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’, one from your wife ‘this is it!’, several newsletters, and one from your new client titled ‘need to reschedule Thursday meeting’.

So wait a minute. The last one is clear, but am I fired and what is with my wife? Of course I open my wife’s email first only to find out that (more…)

September 9th, 2013|Tags: , |

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


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.




October 24th, 2012|Tags: , , , |

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.


October 9th, 2012|Tags: , , , , , |
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