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50 time-saving tips for Windows, Google, Gmail and Android

Faster ways to navigate, launch programs, browse the web and find what you need

Email

If you receive a lot of email, it can become overwhelming and it's easy to waste time dealing with it all. Here are some tips on managing email, and using it in different ways.

31. Make email work for you: For a tool that's supposed to make life more efficient, email can be a major time sink. Close your email program for all but a small portion of each hour during which you delete or file everything that doesn't require a response, and set aside time each day to reply to email, disciplining yourself not to respond outside of this time. If someone needs a quick response, call them.

32. Go mobile with mail: You shouldn't let mobile email tie you to work at all hours, but if used judiciously it can save you time in the office. Check and triage email on your way to- and from work, deleting or filing anything that doesn't require a response. Then when you are in the office, you can concentrate on, well, doing your job!

33. Use webmail as a to-do list: A Gmail account makes for a perfect to-do list. Whenever you check your mail email account, forward on anything that requires action to a Gmail account. You can now forget those jobs, and get on with other things. Check your Gmail each morning for a ready-made to-do list.

Gmail sync email

34. Sync your email accounts: Don't waste time checking multiple email accounts for new mail several times a day. Gmail lets you sync multiple addresses to a single account. Simply log into your account and click the gear icon at the top left to access Settings. Choose the 'Accounts and Import' tab, then select 'Add a POP3 mail account you own' under 'Check email from other accounts (using POP3). Enter your email address and click Next step, then enter your password and choose Add account.

35. Manage all your messages in a single place: Most smartphones and tablets have an app that lets you manage your text messages, social media feeds and call logs in a single place. Sony Ericsson smartphones include Timescape, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab has Social Hub, for example.
Timescape

Use Gmail like a pro

Gmail is one of the most popular webmail services, and it's well worth using it, not least because - with the tips below - it can be much faster than what you're currently using.

36. Search. Don't use folders: In Gmail, you can quickly find the exact message you want by typing keywords into the search box, or you can rely on the program’s search autocomplete to specify the attributes you want (try typing ‘from:[sender]’ or ‘has photos’).

37. Let Gmail do your filing for you: Instead of individually finding and filing messages, try a search in Gmail for a specific type of message (for example, all email messages ‘from:Freecycle’). Then select Filter messages like this from the ‘More’ drop-down menu to set up a filter that will automatically label, archive, delete, or “star” similar types of incoming messages.  

38. Use Priority Inbox: If you receive a lot of email, use Gmail’s Priority Inbox to automatically separate your important mail from the rest, based on various signals. Google's own research found that Priority Inbox users spend 43 percent more time reading important messages than unimportant ones, and that they spend 15 percent less time reading email overall than do Gmail users working without Priority Inbox.  

39. Keep your contacts up-to-date: Nothing saps time like having to deal with bounced email messages or waiting for a reply to a message that you sent to an outdated email address. You can ensure that you have the latest and most accurate contact information by taking advantage of Gmail’s new profile integration with Google+, which automatically brings any information that your contacts share with you through Google+ into your Contacts list in Gmail.

Next page: Use your smartphone more efficiently

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