Posts from email hacks

Feature Friday: Undo Send in Gmail

Here’s a good reason to read the comments at AVC. You learn things.

On Monday I wrote a post about sending stuff to the wrong people and a number of folks in the comments explained that there is a Google labs feature called Undo Send that holds your “sent mail” for up to 30 seconds before it actually sends it.

I immediately added it to my gmail and feel safer now knowing I have it. I have not used it yet, but I am sure I will.

Here’s how to add it.

Go to gmail settings, then click on the Labs tab and find “Undo Send” and click enable:

undo send

Save that change.

Then in the general tab, you will see this:

Undo Send Two

You can set the cancellation period to anything between 5 seconds and 30 seconds. Save that change too.

I’m honestly not sure why this isn’t a standard feature in Gmail. It seems so useful.

Fun Friday: Things We Hate About Email

It’s been almost a month since we did a fun friday. I was talking with an old friend yesterday about how much we all hate email.

So I thought we could spend friday at AVC collectively hating on email.

Here are a few things I hate about email:

– There is no easy way for me to keep track of the emails I’ve sent where I really care about the response. These important responses get caught up in all of the other email and I often miss them.

– Calendar invites. I wrote an entire blog post hating on them. I particularly hate Calendar Invite Spam. But I dislike all calendar invites because the interaction should be in my calendar not in my inbox.

– Folders/Labels – I can’t be bothered to organize my email into folders/labels, and I never ever look at anything other than my primary inbox. Once an email goes into a folder/label, it is gone and the only way I will ever react to it is finding it with search.

– No Multitasking Support – I have to open up multiple tabs in gmail to do some tasks. It would be great if I could multitask in a single inbox view.

– Doing email on my phone. As much as I hate doing email on the web, it is worse on mobile. You have less screen real estate. Cutting and pasting is harder. Everything is harder.

So those are some, but not all, of my pet peeves about email. What are yours?

Feature Friday: Open In Drive

One of my favorite features of Gmail is the ability to get a file (.xls, .doc, .ppt, .pdf, etc, etc) and have the option to open that file in Google Drive. It is that single feature that allowed me several years ago to remove all desktop software from my machines and use only cloud based software.

However, recently Google changed the way that feature works and I can’t figure out how to (or even it is possible) revert back to the old way.

Now, Google offers two choices, download or “save to drive”, as shown below


The irritating part of this new set of choices is that I don’t want to download the file and most of the time I don’t want to save it to drive either. But now, if you want to open in drive, you must first save to drive, and then open in drive.

You might say that’s not a big deal. Two clicks instead of one. But it is a bit more than that. First it seems to me that it takes longer to go through the new save/open flow than it used to take to just open. Second, I really don’t want to clutter up my Drive with all of these attachments that mostly I just want to read. If I do want to save them, I could always have done that in the old flow after opening the attachment.

I suppose this is all part of Google’s desire to have you save everything so you can search for it later. I appreciate that to some extent, but there is so much that I just want to view and delete, emails, attachments, and many other things. Google is making it harder to do that and I don’t really appreciate that.

If anyone knows if it is possible to go back to the old flow, I would love to hear how.

Gmail Meter

I tried out a new service this past week called Gmail Meter. It's a free analytics service that tells you stuff about how you use Gmail. It is brought to market by the folks at ShuttleCloud, which does archive and data migration for cloud services. It's a way for them to get to know folks who might become ShuttleCloud customers in the future.

I learned a few things. I get 6,470 legit emails a month from 1293 different senders. I send/reply to 2,676 emails to 777 people. So the send/receive ratio across my inbox is 41% which is higher than I thought. I feel a tad better. But there are also at least 516 people who sent me an email last month that did not hear back from me. That makes me feel a bit worse.

The single highest send/reply ratio in my world is the Gotham Gal who sent me 133 emails of which I replied to 100, for a 75% return rate. I've got work to to do there. Sorry Jo. My partners Albert, Andy, Brad, and John get between a 50% and 70% reply rate. Sorry USV folks. The one cohort that I send more mail to than I get replies from is my three kids. I get a worse response rate from them than all of you get from me. Not sure how I feel about that.

This chart will not surprise anyone here at AVC but it does show that the one time I reply to more email than I get is the 5am to 7am time frame.

Daily traffic

Here are a few more interesting charts:

More gmail meter charts
The first chart shows that I get to most of my email within 24 hours but there is certainly a meaningful percentage that takes longer.

The second chart shows that I send a ton of short emails. 80% of my email is less than 30 words. Whereas greater than 50% of the emails I get are longer than 100 words.

I've asked the Gmail Meter folks to add a chart showing reply ratio on emails less than 30 words versus emails greater than 100 words. When I get that chart I will publish it here because I think that is single best secret to getting a reply from me.

Anyway, I found this data valuable. Maybe you will to. You can try it out at Gmail Meter.

Help Wanted: A Gmail Hack To See Only Replies To My Sent Messages

I get behind on email a lot. I am right now actually.

At times like this, I often want to use gmail hacks to make sure I am seeing the most important email. I have some that showcase the messages from my most important contacts (my wife, my kids, …).

But another super important cohort of email messages are the replies to the emails I have sent in the past few days (or up to a week).

I'm wondering if anyone has a good hack that will reveal only those messages in the inbox. I'd be super appreciative.

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