#1 Supercharge your Gmail!

Unroll.me – Free tool that quickly scans your inbox, pulls in all your email newsletter subscriptions and allows you to bulk-unsubscribe. Rest of the emails can be arranged into a ‘daily digest’ (summary email).

Auto Text ExpanderLets you create keyboard shortcuts that expand and replace text as you type. 229% increase in productivity, guaranteed. Possibilities are endless. You could just type in LOL and let the expander replace that with something like “I just wanted to remind you how grateful I am to see you at the office every day”. How awesome is that?

FullContact for Gmail & Inbox – With this extension, you can open a thread to see a full profile of the sender including a photo, job title, location, and social links – even their latest tweets. You can quickly add, copy and edit your contacts within your inbox.

WiseStamp Create a good-looking signature, link the signature to all your social media profiles, use apps to promote products (or blog posts), share quotes and add visuals.

KeyRocketThe easiest way to learn and memorise keyboard shortcuts in Gmail. KeyRocket recommends keyboard shortcuts while your work –  it gives you a notification when you could have used a keyboard shortcut instead of a series of mouse clicks.

Calendly for Gmail or Boomerang Calendar – These extensions enable you to schedule meetings, share your availability and plan group events – all with a single email.

Bonus: Wordzen Okay, Wordzen is not an extension per se. It’s an add-on. Second, I only recommend using it if your wallet is overflowing with cash, you’ve never heard of debt or you’ve inherited a small kingdom from your parents. If that’s you, use Wordzen and reduce the time you spend on email by 90%. Just talk into your phone (or desktop), and they’ll write the email for you while you’re lying on your couch counting the zeros in your latest paycheck.

#2 Import all email accounts to Gmail

Now that your Gmail is supercharged to its limits, we need to import all your email accounts from various servers to Gmail.

It’s rather easy.

1) Go to Settings > Accounts and Import.

2) Scroll down to Check email from other accounts and click Add an email account.

3) Go through the prompted process.

A more detailed walkthrough of this process can be found here.

After this, you will receive all the mail from that external inbox to your Gmail and you can also choose to send email from that external email address (like from me@hotmail.com).


#3 Simplify the outlook

  • Hide all unnecessary labels. Go to Settings > Label tab. I suggest you only leave your Inbox and Sent emails visible and hide all other labels and categories. If you really need to see some other labels, you can do that by collapsing the dropdown menu.
  • Change the display density. Go to Settings > Display Density. Choose the Compact view. It’s easier to scan through your emails when there’s less stuff to distract you.
  • Only use the Primary Inbox. Go tConfigure Inbox. Uncheck everything but the Primary Inbox. You rarely need the other inboxes, and if you do, you can just go to “All Mail” to see emails from all inboxes.
  • Use the Default inbox type. Go to Settings > Inbox. Make sure that inbox type is set to Default. It is the simplest inbox type, hence I suggest you use it.
  • Remove importance markers. And while you are at Settings > Inbox, disable importance markers. Rarely do you actually need the importance markers and often you don’t even agree with Gmail's algorithms. Decide on the importance yourself and remove some clutter.

#4 Add some neat functionalities

  • Enable “Send and Archive”. This will add a “Send and Archive” button to your emails to automatically archive them after you’ve responded. This won’t become a default behaviour, but rather give you a new option when sending emails. 

Settings > General > Send and Archive > Select Show "Send & Archive" button in reply

  • Enable auto-advance. With auto-advance, Gmail automatically shows the next conversation instead of your inbox after you delete, archive or mute a conversation. This way you can cycle through your new emails with lightning speed.

1) Settings > Advanced > Enable Auto-Advance

2) Settings > General > Select Go to the previous (older) conversation for auto-advance

  • Extend “Undo Send” time. Did you forget to attach that essential document to your email? No problem, you have a maximum of 30 seconds to undo sending that email.

Settings > General > Set Send cancellation period to maximum

  • Enable offline mail. This way you can answer emails even if you’re not online. Especially useful for those who travel a lot.

Settings > Offline > Enable offline mail

#5 Use stars and multiple inboxes

First, go to Settings > General, scroll down to Stars and add three stars to “In Use”:

 Yellow bang (for emails that need further action)

•  Purple question mark (for emails that require follow-up)

•  Blue info mark (for reference emails)

Then, go to Settings > Advanced and enable Multiple Inboxes. Go back to Settings and open the Multiple inboxes tab. Create three inboxes:

1) Needs Action (has:yellow-bang)

2) Awaiting reply (has:purple-question)

3) References (has:blue-info)

Finally, choose to display these inboxes on the right.

Click Save Changes. Organise your current mail with the stars. Refresh the page and see whether the changes in your inbox have taken place.

So this is what you should be left with (hopefully without the blur, though):

Click to enlarge images 🙂

#6 Create and follow a (superb) system

First, to use Gmail like an absolute beast, I suggest you follow a few key principles.

Principle #1: Set specific times to process your email and limit the time you use answering email.

I suggest you open Gmail once in the morning and once at the end of your workday and spend a maximum of 30 minutes clearing your inbox. Only use Gmail within these specified time slots.

Principle #2: Your default behaviour should be to not respond to emails.

Twist the way you think about email: it is not your responsibility to answer every email in your inbox. In fact, it is the sender’s responsibility to convince you that the reply is worthwhile. If it’s not, don’t reply. Generously apply the archive or delete functions. Most of the emails do not require your attention.

Principle #3: Write shorter emails.

Always aim to reply in three sentences or less. The shorter your emails, the shorter their response tends to be. It saves time for everyone.

Principle #4: Turn off all notifications.

Being bombarded with email notifications diminishes your productivity.

With these principles in mind, you can create a system for ploughing through all your email.

This is the way I like to do it:

1) Open Gmail (at the specified time).

2) Attack the inbox top down, i.e. open the email at the top of your inbox.

3) Do any of the following.

a) Archive or Delete: Archive (press E) or Delete (press #)

b) Reply immediately: Reply (press R)  → Add the purple question mark if a follow-up is required → Click “Send and Archive”

c) Reply later: Add the yellow bang mark (toggle by pressing S) → Archive (press E)

d) Save as reference: Add the blue info mark (toggle by pressing S) → Archive (press E)

With the auto-advance enabled, these steps will automatically move you on to the next email. Then just repeat this until your inbox is empty.

You’re left with three inboxes: Needs Action, Awaiting Reply and References.

4) Scan through the Needs Action inbox. Answer any emails you can with the information you have at the moment. Add any tasks relating to these emails to your task manager and get back to them during your next email check.

5) Scan through the Awaiting Reply inbox. Can you, or should you, follow up on any of the emails in this inbox? As a general rule, if you have not received an answer in a week, follow up.

6) Finally, quickly glance at the references and see whether you’ll need any particular documents or files from those references in the near future.

When 30 minutes is up, close Gmail immediately. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t make it to Inbox Zero. Knowing that you’ll have to shut down Gmail after 30 minutes no matter what creates positive pressure on you – and most probably makes you more efficient in replying to those countless emails.

#BONUS: Master keyboard shortcuts

Once you’ve adopted a system that fits your needs, you can speed up your workflow by becoming a keyboard shortcut master.

To use keyboard shortcuts in Gmail head to Settings > General > Keyboard Shortcuts, and make sure they’re enabled.

Here are some of the most important keyboard shortcuts, that will speed up your workflow.


  • G + A  - Go to All Mail
  • G + C  - Go to Contacts
  • G + D  - Go to Drafts
  • G + I   - Go to Inbox
  • G + K  - Go to Tasks
  • G + S  - Go to Starred Conversations
  • G + T  - Go to Sent Messages
  • G + L  - Go to label

Reading Messages

  • Archive
  • Mute conversation
  • R Reply
  • Toggle star
  • ! Report as spam
  • #  - Delete
  • - Mark as not important
  • = Mark as important
  • Shift + I Mark as read
  • Shift + U  - Mark as unread


  • C - Compose message
  • Ctrl + K - Insert a link
  • Ctrl + Enter - Send


  • Ctrl + B - Bold
  • Ctrl + I Italics
  • Ctrl + U Underline

You can find all keyboard shortcuts here.

What are you waiting for?GO SMASH YOUR INBOX!