Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

How to Tidy Up Your Gmail Account

Anyone with a kink for easy-mail management has likely stayed away from GMail over the years. Despite its superior storage sizes, ease of use, and incredible reliability, you’ll find very few people who decided to open an account with GMail because of its ability to easily-organize their inbox. That’s because, quite frankly, it doesn’t have it.

However, there are some strategies you can begin using today to start battling into that monolithic horde of unread messages currently waiting to be read by you. No, you don’t need to be intimidated by their sheer numbers anymore, for they’re mostly just talk. That’s why, today, we’re going to share some tips which help you to tidy up your GMail account, show you specific techniques you can use, and also teach you how to make sure you never have more than a handful of unread messages leering menacingly at you in the future (well, unless a lot of people actually want to speak to you, anyway).

Search!

The first thing you need to do is SEARCH! Yes, take a quick look at your inbox, and identify which companies or people are sending you the most nuisance emails. Then type their name into the search box across the top of the screen. You may need to click the little ‘down arrow’ at the right of the box to enter more specific criteria (such as the sender’s email address, which you can get from just next to their name in any of their messages, or by excluding chats so that anything you’ve responded to doesn’t get caught up in your purge).

Once you’ve managed to cast the net just wide enough to catch all the nonsense you don’t need, go ahead and click the small grey checkbox under the search bar to select every message. You’ll then be prompted by GMail with a message to the effect of “All 50 conversations on this page are selected. Select all conversations that match this search”. Click on the underlined text so that you can select all messages (rather than having to delete 50 at a time), and then click the little trash-bin icon below the search bar.

Repeat this process for everyone who’s been sending you bulk-emails concerning things you never needed to know about, until your inbox is small enough that you can go through and delete the remainders one-by-one.

Unsubscribe!

While you’re deleting emails from the above-mentioned batch-message distributors, remember to open one of their correspondences up. At the bottom, they should have provided you with a link to somewhere you can go to explicitly unsubscribe to future communications from them.

In fact, the CAN-SPAM bill which was approved by then President George Bush back in 2003 was updated in 2008; one of the biggest benefits of this update was a legal requirement for anyone distributing marketing emails to provide a way for their users to easily opt-out of future correspondences. So, if anyone’s been sending you generic messages on a regular basis, they should have done this.

If, on the other hand, you can’t find a way to unsubscribe, search for all their messages (as above) and send them to your spam folder. GMail will no longer bother you about future emails from that particular sender, and all their messages will immediately be junked (however, they will be in your spam folder for a short while, so you can read them if you really want to).

Categorize

Even though GMail doesn’t allow you to use conventional folders in your inbox, you can quite easily categorize messages using their own proprietary “Labels” feature. This allows you to related messages with the same keyword, even if they haven’t arrived in your inbox yet. This is done by setting up a series of filters (which are well worth Googling if you don’t already know about them). Filters are, essentially, a set of rules which instruct GMail on how to handle messages as they arrive in your inbox.

Add-Ons

While we won’t go into explicit details about add-ons in this post, there’s definitely some amazing tools you can use to make managing your GMail account less stressful. Most notable is Email Game (emailga.me), which will present you with your inbox serially, meaning that you have to deal with each message one-by-one. It may sound painful, but it’s a great way to ensure that emails no longer get bounced around or are left to fester in your inbox!

Using these tools, you can immediately get to work on tidying your GMail account, and we hope that you’ll find them as useful as we do ourselves. Until next time, remember to keep checking back for more awesome (and helpful!) articles like this one. Ciao!

The laws of meetings: How to maximise your business efficiency

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a large or small company; views on meetings are largely universal. They’re often overused, inefficient, and generally a waste of time.

Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, but in a nutshell, meeting dynamics across the world can be reformed.

Taking this into account, when it comes to your own company’s meetings, how should you approach matters? Should you go with the flow and “become one of them”, or should you challenge the norm and take matters into your own hands? Suffice to say, today’s post is on how to achieve the latter.

Tread carefully with recurrent meetings

The software companies gave themselves a huge pat on the back when they allowed recurrent meetings to be scheduled at the quick of a button. In truth, this is a worthwhile feature for many meetings – but not all.

After all, while you might build a case for a weekly performance meeting, many other recurrent ones aren’t perhaps needed.

Now, before you suggest that you can simply “play it by ear” and decide when you get to the meeting, this is one of the easiest mistakes to make. After all, by the time everyone has arrived and discussed the matter at hand, regardless of how briefly, valuable time has been eaten away.

The moral of the story? Carefully decide whether your recurrent meetings really need to be recurrent.

Get the agenda out there – and make it actionable

There’s nothing worse than being called into a meeting only to find that there is no structure or agenda. In these cases, it often leads to a free-for-all where people can talk about anything and everything, regardless of how important it actually is.

Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule, but in general, an agenda is key. Not only does it give the meeting some much-needed structure, but it also allows you to assign actions to specific people. This, in turn, makes the meeting far more actionable and less of a time waster.

Stop people from going off on tangents

There’s always one person in every meeting that just can’t help themselves. They see the meeting as an opportunity to show off their knowledge, regardless of how relevant it is to the discussion.

While it’s important to allow some level of creativity, you also need to rein people in when they start to go off on tangents. After all, if everyone in the meeting starts to do this, it quickly descends into a free-for-all where nothing gets done.

Could a remote meeting do the trick?

It would be fair to say that we’re now well and truly in the age of remote meetings. Most of us are used to them now and like them due to how much time they can save us.

However, they don’t always work. This is particularly true if you want to impress new clients or perhaps need a whiteboarding session. In these instances, nothing quite beats the dynamics of a face-to-face affair. If you decide to go down this route, the obvious caveat is the knock-on effects. Whether booking that dreaded meeting room or ensuring your insurance obligations are up to scratch ahead of receiving external visitors, make sure you’re prepared for in-person meetings.

Keep it short and sweet

There’s no need to drag out meetings unnecessarily. If you can achieve everything you need to in 30 minutes, there’s no need to make it an hour-long affair.

How to Use Poker as a Mindfulness Practice

Most common mindfulness practices are fundamentally simple. Things like deep breathing, counted breaths, and short breaks and walks can help to calm us, clear our minds, and generate simultaneous states of relaxation and awareness. As much purpose as these small, simple practices have though, there are also some more involved activities that can assist with the development of greater mindfulness. And it may surprise some to learn that the game of poker is among them.

Gaming and Meditation

It is first important to understand that a link has been established between gaming and meditation in general. For a long time there were a lot of misconceptions about gaming as an active, almost violent practice meant solely for young people. But perceptions have changed over time. We now understand that people in all age groups play games of all kinds, and we further accept that a lot of these games have meditative qualities. Gamer testaments and a few scientific studies alike have indicated that the right game can have a soothing effect on one’s mental state.

This is the case with poker as well. A passion for many around the world, it’s a unique game that doesn’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of traditional “gaming” as we tend to think of the term. It is nonetheless similar with regard to mindfulness, however. Approached with intention, it can be a calming, almost meditative hobby for players.

Mental and Emotional Calm

When considering the game of poker specifically, one tends to think first of strategy, luck, and mathematics. In some sense, these are the building blocks of any given game of poker, and it will of course be important for any aspiring player to learn how they all factor in. However, what really helps successful players to win at poker is a sound mindset. The manifestation of a sound overall poker game requires that players learn to accept defeat and to avoid getting too high from a win. It demands reasonable approaches to betting and competition, clear-eyed social interaction, and the ability to operate without ego.

Add those factors up, and what success in poker really demands is mental and emotional calm. Players need skill and strategy to be sure, but above all else they need to be able to clear their minds of various pressures and shut out hasty impulses. This in and of itself is nearly a form of meditation, and certainly serves as a sort of training for mindfulness practice.

Focused Meditation

Beyond helping players to establish a general sense of mental and emotional calm, poker also leads to an ability to focus that, in its own way, is meditative. Generally, a focused meditation is described as the practice of focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down inner dialogue. It more or less means zeroing in on one subject to the exclusion of all else for the purpose of clearing one’s head — which is pretty much exactly what one has to do in poker! Even the slightest distraction can be a problem, and while the game demands a lot of attention it still makes for such narrow focus that one can clear one’s mind in a useful and soothing way.

Even given all of these benefits, poker does not comprise an entire mindfulness or meditation routine. For those interested in working on these aspects of personal wellness though, it’s always good to have one more option! Some will find this simple, popular card game to be legitimately beneficial.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our piece on how to boost your energy, especially useful as we enter a new year and search for fresh motivations!