One of the most dangerous and less-emphasized distractions in a workplace is the email. The email is a strong trap because when browsing your email, you feel productive. There’s a sense that you’re still doing something important, because technically you’re still plugged into work. However, we shouldn’t be fooled. The truth is, email surfing can be just as much of a time sink as Facebook or Youtube. In fact, it may be even more difficult to avoid, because it is generally well-accepted at work. Consequently, making sure that your quote unquote Gmail productivity remains high is an admirable goal to target.
If your workplace utilizes Gmail, there are some strong ways to tackle this issue. While there are definitely non-technological ways to approach this problem, here are some Chrome productivity extensions to help curtail your email addiction.
Free Pause Gmail by CloudHQ
One of the strongest causes of sudden email surfing can be receiving an email that compels you to look at it. This interesting email then causes you to look the other emails you received, and before you know it you’ve jumped down the rabbit hole again.
Free Pause Gmail is an extension that tackles the root cause of that loop. Specifically, it ensures that, no emails will enter your inbox when youre set to work. This way, you won’t be distracted by your email so easily, as the sole reason of going there (being able to check what else is new in your inbox) has disappeared.
Free Pause Gmail is extremely easy to use, and it does its stated job exactly right. Out of the other Chrome productivity extensions, it definitely is the best at tackling the email surfing problem.
There aren’t many cons for this extension, considering how niche this type of function is. It does what it needs to. You can’t really fault it for not doing other potential things that it could do. For example, it doesn’t necessarily stop the email surfing habit completely. Sometimes we decide to check old emails or reread ones that still give us some form of interest. For example, like an interesting newsletter we’ve already received. However, it never claimed to have stopped you from reading old emails, so it is completely okay that it doesn’t do that. The biggest issue is, of course, if your coworker has an urgent message to send you, and your email isn’t open for reception. Especially if you’re currently working from home, this can be a big boon, so it’s improtant to remember that you need your email for certain moments.
Inbox When Ready for Gmail
Inbox When Ready is a different kind of Gmail extension. Instead of blocking incoming emails for later discovery, it instead completely eliminates the inbox altogether. You can function this monitor through multiple settings. You can edit these in the extension itself. For example, you can set schedules for what times your inbox is blocked, how many times you can check your inbox, or even how much of your inbox is blocked.
Inbox When Ready has a free and Pro version. The biggest dealbreaker with the free version is the signature that is added at the bottom of every email you send. It basically served as Inbox When Ready’s watermark, which you can pay to remove. The Pro version is $4 a month, which honestly isn’t that bad for the product (and the prospect of avoiding another email footer that isn’t your name and company position).
Completely eliminating the inbox is a productivity lifesaver, as you suddenly have no ability to approach email surf anymore. Additionally, the strong customizability of it is amazing— you can tailor it to your email surfing habits. If you struggle with checking your email in the morning at work, but can get into a groove later without difficulty, then you can set a timer for your morning inbox to be cleared. The versatility of this tool is one of its major benefits.
The tool’s versatility can also be a double-edged sword. While being able to edit the extension’s time of use and frequency of use at a minuscule level can be very beneficial, it can also make it hard to tune the extension normally. For example, if I only wanted to get in two hours of solid work without seeing my inbox, I can’t simply click on the extension to turn it on or off. I would either have to manually turn it on or off in my extensions browser, or edit my “time preferences” so that it would align, which may cause my pain down the line as I forget to tune it back. All in all, while it is strong as an automated tool, its manual usage leaves something to be desired.
DocuSign for Gmail
While this extension doesn’t necessarily track your time or prevent distractions, DocuSign for Gmail is a tool that makes your life easier. For a good businessman or legal counsel, a tool to consistently and simply sign and send documents is incredibly useful. It saves a ton of time, which would then theoretically allow you to use your Gmail in a more productive fashion.
Docusign doesn’t just allow you to sign and send documents easily. The extension has the following perks: Access document templates from within Chrome, the signatures are unique and legally binding, all data is safely encrypted on their servers, and the extension can even send reminders without leaving your inbox.
Of course, comparing the cons of this extension against others doesn’t really make sense. This is meant for a very specific purpose, and it fulfills it pretty well. However, the one issue I have is that you must have a Docusign account in order to use it, and this would cost you around $10 a month. However, this makes sense from their perspective, and if you’re somebody who uses documents often it is more than worth it.
Ultimately, all of these tools are strong ways to diversify how you treat your Gmail. Whether it is blocking distractions or even pausing incoming emails, these extensions really provide a unique way to enforce gmail productivity.
Of course, Gmail isn’t the most distracting possibility in the workplace, especially during work from home. Here are some other extensions to really ensure you remain undistracted in the home office.