Gmail Hacks for 2023

By Lisa Hirst Carnes | February 2023

Someone checking their email on their phone.

If you're like me, email is your nemesis. You need it. It’s necessary, but it's a monumental time suck. The second you reach inbox zero, a whole new crop of messages comes wailing in. So, what can you do to stop feeling like Sisyphus and his rock?

Let’s start with a little review

Inbox zero is a term coined by writer and speaker Merlin Mann. It refers to the practice of keeping your email inbox empty. This means taking action on all emails received to stay organized and keep up with your to-dos. 

Do you remember when Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was all the rage? Inbox Zero is like that without the sparking joy part. I take that back; an empty inbox definitely sparks joy. 

Once an email comes into your inbox, you decide whether to delete it, archive it, or take action on it. Delegate or complete any action items to keep the number of emails in your inbox at zero. It’s important to note that inbox zero doesn't mean you should delete emails without reading them. Rather, it encourages you to read your emails and become more productive with your time.

This approach lets you focus more time on projects rather than sorting emails. Inbox zero is all about staying organized and managing your time. Doesn't that sound great?

Readjusting how you use email will save time and let you work distraction-free!

Gain control over your inbox

Turn off Notifications

Nothing interrupts work like the ding of new email coming into your inbox. Follow these steps to turn off those pesky notifications. 

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Settings.
  3. Scroll to “Desktop notifications.”
  4. To turn off email notification sounds, select None.

how to turn off gmail notifications

  1. Scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes. 

Use Email Templates

If you send certain messages often, like follow-up reports, save time with templates. Once the template is ready, you can copy and paste it into new emails. Then, you can edit it without crafting an email from scratch every time.

How to enable email templates in Gmail

  • In Gmail, click the settings gear in the top right corner.
  • Click See All Settings.

enabling an email template in gmail

  • At the top, click Advanced.

creating gmail templates

  • In the Templates section, select Enable.
  • At the bottom, click Save Changes.

how to Create an email template

  1. Click on the “Compose” button. The New Message window will open.
  2. Start typing your email template, and when you're done, click on the three dots in the bottom-right corner of the compose window.
  3. Hover the option “Template” and next on “Save draft as template."

creating an email template

  1. Choose Save as new template”.
  2. Enter the name of the new template, then hit the save button.

creating a gmail email template

Use Priority Inbox

Gmail users can create a Priority Inbox that prioritizes emails based on the sender or keywords. Doing so will move important messages to the top of your inbox.

how to turn on Priority Inbox

  • In Gmail, click the settings gear in the top right corner.
  • In the "Inbox type" section, select Priority Inbox.
  • To customize priority inbox setting, click Customize.
  • Choose the inbox sections you want to show. Save Changes.

Take an Email Break

Be honest. How often do you check your email? I'm definitely guilty of this bad habit. My pattern (which I'm trying to break), goes something like this. I'm working on something important, and I get distracted and decide to check my email. I see an email that I can deal with immediately, and I abandon my original task and switch gears to the new task. This results in fewer things getting done and lots of time wasted switching gears. Plus, I'm not doing my best work. 
Pause Gmail by Cloud HQ is a tool that lets you control when emails appear in your Inbox. I like that it actually stops your email so you’re not even tempted! Work without distractions and increase your productivity. And, if you're like me, change that habit of checking your email too much.

Thin the Herd

Unroll.Me is a tool that allows you to unsubscribe from email lists and newsletters clogging your Inbox. Plus, it can “roll up” emails into one daily digest, so you don't miss important information and aren't flooded with notifications.

Reduce Email Ping-Pong

One frustrating aspect of email is going back and forth with people, such as when setting a meeting. Scheduling apps, like Calendly, help you manage your time by making it easy to set meetings and tasks. Use the calendar integration to connect your account to Google Calendar, G Suite, and more.
Tools like the ones above are great ways to save time and work without distractions. By automating mundane tasks, you can spend more time on the things that matter in your work and life.

Topics: Tips and Tricks