How to Be a Gmail Ninja: Boost Your Productivity and Email Performance

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / August 5, 2014

gmail ninja

Let’s face it.  Email plagues our lives.

I’m on a mission to get as much as possible out of every hour of work, so I can do things I enjoy more like surfing and traveling.

Yes, I’ve always been a fan of The Four Hour Work Week but when my friend Scott Britton told me about a McKinsey study that found 28% of people’s working hours are spent reading and responding to email, I finally decided to get serious about this addiction.

Luckily for you, I jumped head first into his course The Ultimate Gmail Productivity System for Business and I’m going to tell you the biggest takeaways.

As you guys who are on the Under30CEO Insiders list know, I take a lot of time answering readers questions and building relationships within our tribe.  I get a few hundred responses to my Tuesday emails and as you can imagine, it’s pretty overwhelming….

As you can see above, with 2,300 unread emails (not including the 8,316 unread newsletters folder) I’m closer to giving up than anything… AND that doesn’t count my secret inbox that much fewer people know about…

I’ve tried everything from answering every email ASAP to keeping my inbox at zero, to only answering critical ones and starring the rest, to ignoring the problem and almost giving up altogether.

As Scott says, I need to stop operating at a sub-optimal output level.  Checking email 6-20x per day certainly qualifies as sub-optimal…

How to start k*cking ass at email…

Have a solid foundation to work with

1) You should only be using Gmail.  It’s the best and this is what this course is for.

2) The Chrome Browser is a Google Product and it works best with Gmail.  It’s faster.

Just like humans only use a very small percentage of our brains… It turns out that the average Gmail user only uses a very small percentage of its functionality.  Google Labs is genius and you should know which features to turn on.

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Top apps, plugins, and tricks

4) Inbox Pause only have your emails delivered when you want them in your inbox so you aren’t distracted or tempted to check them when you don’t want to.

5) Unroll.mescans your inbox for every mailing list you are on and lets you opt out of those that are not adding value.

6) Gmail Aliasessubscribe to email lists with your gmail with +1 at the end ie: (wilson.matt.wilson+1@gmail) and have these filtered to a special folder every single time!

7) gives you a special email address to cc so this email will come back to the top of your inbox if you need to followup with someone by a certain date.

8) Are you using your bookmarks bar appropriately?  You should have links in your bookmarks bar to Compose, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and specific docs you go to frequently without going to your inbox (this changed my life!!)

Best Practices: How to Respond

9)  As *soon* as you see the email you need to take action on it.  Scott now has me on his system: The 4 D’s, Delete, Do, Defer, Delegate.

10) One of the biggest steps you can take is to be honest.  *SUPER HONEST*.  Not just with people you can’t work with, or can’t “jump on a quick call with” but most importantly with yourself.  Ask yourself: is this email adding value to my life?

11) Batch processing.  This is old school Tim Ferriss stuff.  Remember: “Email is everyone else’s agenda for you”.  Do your action items first, then check email, but only 2-3x per day.

12) Always be pruning.  “Is this email going to add value to my life?”  Otherwise, unsubscribe, or filter it *immediately*!  

The Gmail Productivity System Formula: The 4 areas of focus to master

13) Decreasing frequency less back and forth, chit chat, and thank you for thanking me.

14) Decreasing volumeless volume of emails all together.  Stop tempting people to email you again.  

15) Improving quality of dialogue Be direct when setting up dates and times for calls and meetings. Ask yourself– is this email effectively achieving its purpose?

16) Increase speed–eliminate repetition, get faster within the software, and spend time doing things you love!

If you are still hungry for more Gmail hacks, and the details on these strategies and a ton more, here’s an EXCLUSIVE deal for Under30CEO Readers:

Scott’s course The Ultimate Productivity System for Business has been taught to 6.2K students on Udemy.  It’s really nicely broken down into very short, easily digestible lectures, and best of all you can learn his 20 strategies in only three hours.

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I did it on a Sunday morning and instantly my productivity was hacked. Amazing.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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