Email is a big part of running a mobile office and doing nearly every knowledge work related job today. The key to getting things done faster and more efficiently is not allowing yourself to get bogged down in email.
I highly recommend disabling mobile and desktop email notifications and only checking it at certain times you set throughout your workday. Otherwise, it can become a massive distraction that divides your focus and kills your ability to do more productive tasks necessary to excel in your work.
I used to use the Airmail application for managing some of my business-related email accounts but now I do everything in Gmail. The Gmail user experience is hard to beat and the level of customization through third-party plugins that set it apart from the competition. Plus, Google has excellent mobile apps for checking your email on your iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
If you are just using the “out of the box” Gmail settings without any third-party extensions or plugins, then you’re really missing out on the full power of Gmail can do for improving the workflow of your mobile office. I’m sure you’ll find some of these free Gmail plugins will become indispensable tools for your managing your email.
1. Rapportive: Detailed Profiles of Your Email Contacts
How would you like to gain a deeper understanding of who you are emailing in an instant? Rapportive is a browser plugin for Gmail that replaces the ads on Gmail’s sidebar with a detailed profile of the sender’s social profiles and their current work positions. It works as an add-on for Firefox, Chrome and Safari and it’s completely free.
2. Boomerang For Gmail: Schedule Your Emails For Maximum Impact
Boomerang is like Gmail on steroids. It makes it easy to schedule your emails to be sent at specific times like the start of the workday. This can be particularly useful if you’re communicating with people in different time zones. You can also send follow-up reminders to yourself, archive messages and return important emails to the top of your inbox when you know you will have time to read them.
3. Unroll.me: Mass Unsubscribe From Email Lists
If you’re like me, you probably subscribe to a lot of email lists and newsletters that you never read. But it’s too much work to manually unsubscribe from them all so you just ignore them as best that you can.
How would you like to be able to see a list of all your email subscriptions and unsubscribe with one-click from every list you don’t read anymore? Well, Unroll.me is exactly what you are looking for. It also has a great daily digest feature, which allows you to segment your email subscriptions and then receive a daily email summarizing the entire segment. All it costs is the price of a single tweet!
4. AwayFind: No More Checking Your Emails on Vacation
If you find yourself constantly checking your emails on vacation or when you’re trying to relax then you need AwayFind. This great free Gmail plugin monitors your email inbox for important messages and only notifies you by a SMS text message if an email is absolutely urgent. Their free account allows for the monitoring of a single Gmail account.
5. ToDoIst: Email Task Management
How would you like better integration of your email and task management capabilities in Gmail? ToDoIst let’s you turn your important emails into actionable tasks, add to-do items for projects, set reminders and set deadlines. Their feature Todoist Karma also allows you to track your email productivity and visualize your improvements over time. Another good option is TaskForce but I think you have to pay for them all after a free trial (to-do list app Any.Do also has a Chrome extension that is free).
6. News.me: Daily Social Media Digests
Don’t want to waste your time checking Twitter and Facebook when you’re working? Use this handy tool to stop filling your email inbox with email notifications from these social networks. Instead, you can get a daily summary of all the top posts from your social networks so you don’t miss out (FOMO!) on the important stuff. The best option I’ve found since Twitter bought and closed down Summify.
7. FollowupThen: Never Miss A Follow Up Again
One of the cardinal email mistakes is not following up with hot prospects and important contacts. FollowUpThen is a Gmail plugin that ensures you’ll never miss a follow up and you’ll impress prospects with your punctuality and determination. As they say in sports, it’s all about the follow through…in business, it’s all about the follow up! You can even send reminders to other people on your team to follow up.
8. WiseStamp: A Kick Ass Email Signature
Email signatures can be so boring and predictable, which means they will most likely get completely ignored. WiseStamp is one of my favorite free Gmail plugins because it allows you to spice things up a bit with your photo, your websites, important updates and graphic icons for social profiles. You can even integrate Google Analytics and use it to optimize your email signatures for engagement and clickthroughs.
9. Enhancements for Gmail: Upgrade Your Gmail Experience
If you are someone who loves to customize and personalize the digital tools you use each day then you are going to love this Chrome extension. It cleans up the Gmail user interface by giving you the option to remove the ads, the chat bar, the invite friend messages. It also ensures Gmail is your default email application and provides you with handy desktop email notifications if that’s your thing. Another excellent free Gmail plugin for customization is Gmelius.
10. Gmail Offline: Access Your Emails When You’re Offline
This clever web app allows you to access your Gmail inbox — even when you’re offline! It does this by synchronizing your Gmail inbox to your computer. It also has a beautiful interface for reading and responding to emails (that can be instantly sent when you reconnect). If you’re stuck somewhere without LTE or wi-fi this free Gmail tool could save your sanity.
11. CloudMagic: Integrate Gmail with Productivity Tools
This Gmail tool really blew me away when I was first introduced to it. It gives you seamless integration between your Gmail account and cloud-based tools like Evernote, Pocket, Trello, Salesforce, Zendesk and Mailchimp — which you can access and update without leaving your Gmail inbox. They also have nicely designed iPhone and Android apps. To integrate with cloud storage and photography websites like Instagram or Flickr use Cloudy For Gmail.
12. Streak: A CRM Within Gmail
Steak is a customer relationship management (CRM) that is completely integrated with Gmail. Manage sales cycles, customer support, bug tracking, hiring, send emails later and use snippets so you can automatically have boiler plate email templates to quickly modify and send. This new Gmail tool is currently in beta so it’s completely free.
13. Batched Inbox for Gmail: Get Your Emails In Batches At Set Times
With Batched Inbox plugin for Gmail you can receive emails hourly or at set times in batches so you don’t have to be constantly interrupted by new email alerts. A great tool to use if you want to schedule emails at specific times throughout your workday to guarantee they won’t interrupt the flow of your work.
14. mxHero Toolbox: See Who Opens Your Emails and Attachments
How would you like to track when your emails or their attachments are opened? This tool will notify you the moment your email is opened. You can also track links in your emails, send reminders, send emails at optimal times and even protect your privacy with self-destructing emails.
15. Checker Plus for Gmail: Desktop Notification for Multiple Gmail Accounts
This is the best tool I’ve found for painlessly managing multiple email accounts with desktop notifications. However, I recommend that you turn if off when you really want to focus on getting work done so you aren’t dividing your attention by constantly multitasking. I really like the simple integration of the notifications with Chrome so you can quickly check your different Gmail and Google Apps for Business accounts with a single click.
I hope you find these free Gmail plugins and add-ons useful for improving your email workflow. Enjoy!