(God forbid) What if your doctor told you that you’ve a 50/50 shot of making it to the summer?
How would you make the most of the little, precious time you’re left with?
If I were given this bad news, I’d fly a plane, go on long drives with friends, visit places I’ve never been before, donate most of my stuff, spend some time with my family, and bid farewell to my blog readers.
Hold on, did I ever mention “writing” in my pre-death to-do list?
Maybe because I’m not a hardcore writer.
Here’s what Isaac Asimov – a true hardcore writer – will do:
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”
That shows writers are always short of time and have only one thing on their mind: writing!
Though the modern technologies have made life easier for writers, they’re also accompanied by many lethal distractions.
The biggest of them – which we usually don’t even recognize as a time-waster – is email.
If you’re guilty of wasting a lot of time hovering around your inbox, Gmail can be your saving grace; let’s see how.
Please note that some of these tweaks will work only with the Google Chrome and as long as you are singed in.
1. Gmail is unconditionally there for you… 24/7
What if you were expecting an important message but the email server is down?
You’ll be too frustrated to do anything, let alone writing.
Usually, the likes of Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail don’t suffer email outage, but if Gmail server is encountering an issue, there are several alternate ways to access your inbox.
But what if you don’t have an internet connection at all?
The world won’t slow down, and you surely don’t want to be left behind.
Get the Gmail Offline add-on and you’ll be able to read, responded to, search and archive the emails… without network access!
2. No more embarrassment because of forgotten attachment
A few months back, I had to write a press release for one of my repeat clients on urgent basis.
Around 1:00 AM, I finally managed to finish it, emailed the client and went to sleep with a satisfied heart.
The first thing that greeted me the next morning were two fuming emails from the client, moaning that there was NO attachment with the email.
Has this ever happened to you?
Besides being embarrassed, you’ve to re-send the attachment, apologize for forgetting it… more time wasted.
To make sure it doesn’t happen again, always write “I’ve attached…” in your email body whenever sending a file. If you forget to attach, Gmail, like a good friend, will give you a heads up.
3. No more switching between the windows
The temptation is to check your inbox again and again, especially when expecting an important note.
If your wish is to get a desktop notification for every new email, while you carry on with your work, it’s Gmail’s command.
To enable the notifications, go to Settings, under General tab scroll down to Desktop Notifications and check New Mail Notifications radio button.
There’s also an option to get notifications only for the important mails.
4. Safe subscriptions with infinite email Ids
I can admit it freely now: I used to be a skirt chaser during my college days.
Unlike the West, where guys openly seek dates in bars and pubs, the method to pick up girls is different in my country, Pakistan – mainly because of the cultural restraints. You’ve to do everything secretly or the wrath of your parents, their parents, neighbors, and Mr. Somebody, who doesn’t even know you, will seize upon you.
To stay discrete, I would clandestinely give the girls my cell number, and the things would move along. Then came a time when identifying different girls became quite a challenge and some of them started suspecting me of having ‘another’ affair. After that, I started telling every girl a different, made-up name, and boy… it worked!
Why the heck am I boring you with these narratives?
Because you can do the same with your Gmail.
(Maybe they’ve stolen my idea.)
Being a writer/blogger, you’ve to subscribe to several newsletters, events and other lists, which can result in spam inroads. The worst part is that you can’t even identify the culprit, unless you are using Gmail as it lets you use a different email address for each subscription.
Let’s pretend your email is email@example.com, now any email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and so on, will land in your inbox.
So if you’re subscribing to Writers Blog, just add WB after a ‘+’ sign: firstname.lastname@example.org. This way you’ll know which mailing list has been compromised and you can get rid of it.
Obviously, you can use this tactic for many other benefits.
5. Automate communication, enjoy vacation
When you’re out of office, Gmail will notify all the clients who contact you.
To set up the vacation responder, simply fill a simple form under the General tab.
If you’re an over-adventurous soul, check out the Labs menu under the Settings where you will find some crazy experimental stuff. Here, you can modify settings to un-send an email, save canned responses, operate multiple inboxes, and do a lot more.
Gmail also features the most powerful search bar, built-in translator, labeling mechanism, interactive native mobile apps for all the major mobile operating systems… the list goes on, and on.
Over to you
If you can steal a few extra minutes from your email routine every week and invest them into what you are meant to do i.e. writing great stuff, it’ll surely boost your productivity.
To share with us any other Gmail tricks you know, drop a line in the comments.
Hi! I am Ali – a freelance writer & blogging enthusiast. If you're new here, you'll totally love my FREE ebook: The Secret Ingredients to Writing Magnetic Headlines That Always Get Noticed.
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