Watching my business grow is an amazing feeling.

Dealing with the administrative headaches that come along with it SUCKS.

Pitching new clients, managing existing ones, maintaining staff, keeping an eye on the books and whoa – the emails!

I mean, really, people are out of control with emails, aren’t they?

A friend of mine suggested I use Gmail for email and productivity purposes. Within the first week I saw a massive boost in productivity.

In this post, I’m going to show you nine ways to use Gmail to hack productivity.

1. Take back mistakes with the “Unsend” feature.

If you service clients, I know you feel me – they can be a pain (but if you guys are reading this, I love you!).

Sometimes I get irritated and send “less than favorable” email responses. The “Unsend” feature is a godsend allowing me to take back emails.

How to set it up:

  • Click the gear icon on the top right
  • Select settings
  • Find “Undo Send”
  • Click “Enable Undo Send”
  • Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen

Now, you’ll be given a grace period to retract the email.

2. Stop checking multiple email accounts.

How annoying is it having to check four different email platforms?

I push all emails through my Gmail, including my professional ones.

You can forward and respond from your work email through Gmail. I’m able to log into Gmail, send emails from my company email, personal work email and my Gmail account.

Outlook has one-tenth of the capabilities of Gmail. Seriously, get rid of it.

Note: Please don’t spam me!

This alone is a huge time saver but wait, there’s more!

I’m a Mac and iPhone user so I regularly use Apple’s calendar to schedule events. Did you know logging into your Apple calendar with your Gmail auto syncs the two?

Gmail syncs with Google Calendar which auto syncs with iCalendar, which means all of my appointments and meetings are pushed to my devices.

I know there’s a ton of tools that do this for you but this one is free and simple.

How to set it up:

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a pain to setup, so I paid someone $20 to do it for me.

If you’re really tight on cash, here are some resources to help you out:

3. Leverage free tools to streamline processes

A friend of mine runs a high traffic website that gets hundred of inquiries a day. He tipped me off to Streak, a free plugin with a ton of powerful features:

Manage pipelines and segment emails. I use it to keep my sales funnel intact and manage prospects from lead to close.

Send later feature. Full transparency, when I send proposals I schedule them to send at 6:00 am. This gives the impression to potential clients that I’m a hard worker that’s up early every day. Judge me if you want, it works!

Track views and location. I don’t know how this is legal but the plugin tracks when and where your email was opened. This is a powerful feature to split test email headlines, copy and set a follow up sequence.

How to set it up

4. Share your email load with others

I work with around 10 freelancers for my agency. Half of them are using email for their everyday tasks: doing PR outreach, pitching content and responding to clients.

I like all outreach to be done from my account. The acceptance rate is four times higher this way because we’re leveraging my name and my reputation.

Gmail has a feature allowing you to grant access to others without giving them your password.

NOTE: Credit to David Hunter for this tip.

How to set it up:

  • Click the gear icon on the top right
  • Select settings
  • Select “Accounts and Import”
  • Find “Grant access to your account”
  • Add their email
  • Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen

5. Standardize your outgoing emails

The more you provide outsourced labor, the better.

Gmail’s “canned response” feature allows my team to fire off hundreds of outreach emails in a matter of minutes, all based on templates I created.

This ensures no spelling errors, correct grammar and perfect pitches.

How to set it up:

  • Click the gear icon on the top right
  • Select settings
  • Click “Labs” tab
  • Find “Canned Responses”, click “Enable”
  • Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen

  • Draft an email that you’d like to use as a template
  • Click the little triangle in the bottom right of the email
  • Select “Canned responses”
  • Click “Save”

6. Never forget to ‘reply all’ again

My first job out of college was with Accenture consulting and I had the pleasure of working for a huge asshole. He’d flip out if you forgot to ‘reply all’ to a message with numerous recipients.

Gmail has a setting that changes the default behavior to ‘reply all’ – that way you’ll never leave important people out of email chains.

How to set it up:

  • Click the gear icon on the top right
  • Select settings
  • Select “General”
  • Find “Default reply behavior”
  • Select “Reply all”
  • Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen

7. Stay on top of your game with task lists

How many times does this email scenario happen to you:

  • Monday: “Hey Ryan, we’re having an issue with [fill in blank]. Can you look into it for me?”
  • Friday: “Hey Ryan, did you get a chance to take a look at it?”


I started using Gmail tasks and this situation occurs much less (well, less anyways).

Adding an email to Tasks creates a to do list, alerting to you follow up and stay on top things you need to do.

How to set it up:

  • Select the email you’d like to add
  • Select “More”
  • Select “Add to Tasks”

8. Declutter your inbox and stay organized

Folders are a simple feature allowing you to group emails into buckets. This is a great feature when you can’t delete an email but want to remove the clutter from your inbox.

How to set it up:

  • Click the gear icon and select “Settings”
  • Click “Labels”
  • Find “Labels”, click “Create new label”

How you bucket your emails is up to you, but here’s how I do it:

  • Use numbers in front of your label – this organizes them numerically. When you’ve got a ton of folders it’s much easier to find the ones you want
  • Use sub folders to further bucket content and de clutter your folders section
  • Simply select the email, click the folder icon and select the folder you’d like to move the email to

9. Track inbound mail without checking your inbox

At any given time, I’ve got anywhere from 17 to 400 tabs open on my browser.

When this happens, you can’t see if you’ve got unread mail in your box.

You can enable your browser tab to show unread emails in your inbox.

How to set it up:

  • Click the gear icon on the top right
  • Select settings
  • Click “Labs” tab
  • Find “Unread message icon”, click “Enable”
  • Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen

Gmail might not be for you…

Gmail isn’t the only email platform that has these features – Yahoo’s made tremendous strides over the last year as well.

It’s a natural fit for my agency because we live in other Google products like Analytics, AdWords and Drive.

If you’re comfortable with your email provider, look into features available. They should have similar aspects to help save time and headaches.

Did I miss anything? What are your favorite Gmail hacks?

Ryan StewartRyan Stewart
View Author

Ryan Stewart is a digital marketing consultant specializing in driving organic traffic through content, search and social. He currently owns Webris, an internet marketing agency with offices in Miami and Boston. You can learn more about Ryan via his personal website or his blog.

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