If you think Excel is your corporation’s biggest inhibitor for accessing, analyzing, and distributing actionable information, you wrong. Email is by far one of the greatest time, productivity, and knowledge drains in the corporate world.
My personal email situation is out of control as I continuously run the risk of emails falling between the cracks. This week, I decided to step out of my Outlook comfort zone to take steps forward to improve my ability to stay on top of my business. I have always been critical of GMail as a corporate grade experience… Google spent all of that time simplifying and refining the email experience to be minimalistic (borderline useless), with the engine to make it extremely useful. I found a handful of add-ons to unlock the power of my inbox and transform it into command central.
Here are some extremely useful add-ons that I wanted to share that I am testing, that I believe will help make me more efficient moving forward:
Start with a real business problem and build a clever solution. That is exactly what the Boomerang team did. Google should buy this solution and make it standard with GMail because every person has this same problem… When you send an email knowing that you need a response, how do you keep track? Boomerang does that for you. You can check a box and have your email remind you if you don’t get a response in hours or days so it shows up at the top of your list.. That way you can stay on top of the people who owe you information. Additionally, if an inbox pops into your inbox and you can’t get to it right away, you can flag it or put it in a folder.. Instead boomerang will pull it out of your inbox and re-email it to you later. Think of it like a snooze button for email.
Preview Pane is a must have if you are coming from Outlook because it allows you to navigate through emails fast. The biggest gripe I have with cloud email is speed for moving between emails, so preview pane allows me to quickly toggle and take action on emails quickly. In outlook click on the settings button, select the labs tab, and then press Preview Pane. Enable preview pane and refresh your browser
After installing Cirrus Insight for Salesforce.com, I am already hooked! Not only do they have a tight integration with Salesforce.com but it also lets me get to custom objects right from within GMail. Now, I have at my fingertips every bit of information I need as I communicate with customers and partners. If you have Salesforce and GMail customer this extension is a must-have.
Rapportive is a pretty slick tool that connects GMail to your Linked-In account. As you receive or send emails, it will indicate your Linked-In Connection status. If you are not connected, with a single click you can send a request.
Utility and Not Algorithms
I have tried several algorithm based email optimization tools. My favorite is SaneBox but even with Tony Robins endorsement, I found that important emails that needed immediate attention slipped by. For that, I am not ready to trust my inbox and my business to algorithm based tools.