Lean GMail – Advanced Gmail Tips for Open Networkers and Job Seekers

by Andrew Seward on July 25, 2009

GMail Master Ninja

Solution to eliminating waste and efficiently managing your mail through automation and advanced GMail Features:  As a Lean practitioner I was noticing how much TIME I was spending managing my email after I started open networking.  I discovered I was wasting lots of time, not only with the volume of mail but also the distractions caused by the frequency of messages I was receiving.  Most importantly I missed some important emails lost amongst the other items.  Many people suggest multiple email accounts.  However, I like one way to do things that works and to refine it.  So I’d like to provide a potential solution to a problem that I’ve developed to this problem that I’m sure many people using social networking on Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter and other Social Media to are struggling with – how to efficiently manage your email.

  • If you are not using Social Networking to support your job search, develop your personal brand/reputation, or to grow your business  you should be!
  • If managing your email is not a challenge then your not doing enough of it or your perhaps already applying these tips.
  • Perhaps your limiting your networking because of the volume of mail it can create.

First let me say that I love GMail and I highly recommend it, I’m sure many of the same features I will describe are also available at Yahoo, AIM and other sites but when I was choosing GMail was the best and it keeps getting better!!  Gmail’s interface does take a bit of getting used to, and if you find the “conversation and label” format trying you can always use and IMAP desktop client line Thunderbird to view your mail in a more traditional email interface and still get all benefits I describe.  Note you don’t need to switch your email!  You can forward or retrieve your messages from almost any other account and configure the “Send as Feature”of gmail or your desktop client to send mail as another email address.  In my case I have 6 other emails feeding my Gmail.

The efficient use of managing your time and the volume of emails you are probably receiving is in the use of advanced features.  Google offers an guide to being being a GMail Ninja in this guide on how to “become a Gmail Ninja” and handy reference sheet.  Lots of others have given advice on how manage your email subscriptions at the various social networking sites so I will focus on configuring GMail, here are a few of my favorites as you strive to earn your Master Black Belt!

  • Spam Filtering – Built into Gmail is an oustanding SMAP filter which in my experience has a VERY low rate of capturing email I want to receive.
  • Filters – Manager your time, Use filters to automate some mail handling tasks, unclutter your inbox, controlling what emails get sent to your BlackBerry, Palm or other Smart Phone/PDA, helping you mangage your time by blocking activities so you can focus  Some examples of how you can “file” and organize your email using Labels and Filters.
    • Label and File social networking invite requests and responses.
    • Label and File ezines, newsletters, and other related communications.
    • Label and File  you  Digests.
    • Label and File subscriptions – Job Boards, Discussion Digests.
  • +emails: with GMail you can create as many virtual emails as you want and when registering online you can specify a +id (e.g. say was signing up for an service that promises to you SEO placement, free trail service etc.  Rather than creating a disposable email use a +email.  Something  sewarda+newservicename@gmail.com and then if you get spammed you know who the culprit is and it is also easy to block the related spam but jut defining a filter to delete mail from that address.
  • Autoresponders – “canned responses” – if you combine the +email, forwarding and filtering you can have a very powerful system.
  • Alerts: You can set up filters to trigger text alerts by sending to your phone’s email address for texting so your notified of important mail.  (e.g. you might be waiting for a response from a few companies while your on vacation but don’t want to check your mail every day. (set up a filter on @company name in the email and then have an alert sent so you can find a place to log in and look.

Just  a few examples of how you can apply some Lean Thinking to help manager your email- Please share your own power tips.

Andrew Seward

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