5 Reasons to Change your Email Account to Gmail Today

Exactly one year ago, I changed my email address from a Hotmail account to a Gmail one. Yes, I know having waited that long probably makes me a dinosaur in productivity land, but I was very reluctant to make the shift with all the potential headaches and switching costs.

However, I couldn’t be happier with the move because it saved me tons of time and dramatically increased my efficiency.

If you don’t already have a Gmail account, here are five reasons why you should sign up for one today and reap a lot of productivity benefits:

  1. Email Centralization: For this reason alone, it’s worth switching. Gmail allows you to consolidate up to 5 of your other email accounts. So if you have several Hotmail and Yahoo email addresses, you can receive all the messages to those accounts in your Gmail inbox. This means you don’t have to worry about notifying your contacts that you have a new address, and most importantly, you’ll have a one-stop-shop to check all your other accounts (major time-saver). Another cool thing is that you can even send emails from those other accounts through Gmail.  You can read more about how to consolidate your emails here and here
  2. Email Threading: Gmail has something called conversations, which basically threads all your emails about a specific subject together. For example, if you’re having an email discussion among your friends about “Chicken soup recipes,” and you receive 7 emails about the topic, then you’ll see one email item in your Gmail inbox with the number (7) next to it, as opposed to 7 separate emails with “Re: Re: Re: Chicken soup recipes” in the subject lines. This feature takes some time to get used to, but it’s amazing how much it organizes in your inbox. You can read more about conversations here
  3. Priority Inbox: If I ever meet the product manager at Google who came up with this idea, I’m buying him lunch. Priority Inbox is a feature which automatically sorts the emails that are important to you and those that are not by placing them in different sections in your inbox (it just knows how to do that based on a few smart factors). This is a phenomenal feature which helps focus your attention on what really matters. I can go on and on about Priority Inbox, but it’s easier if you just watch the cool cartoon video Google has about it here
  4. Labels: Gmail doesn’t use folders – it uses something called labels instead. I won’t go into the details of how this could really help you organize your messages, because there are plenty of blog posts that show you how to strategically use them. However, the main benefit you should know about labels is that you can use multiple labels for each message, and they make finding emails much easier. Read more about how to set up labels here
  5. Keyboard Shortcuts: If you really want to save time opening, composing and replying to emails, you should forget using your mouse and use keyboard shortcuts instead. In Gmail, if you hit the “c” key, you’ll automatically open a window to compose a message. If you hit “r,” you’ll reply back to the sender, and “a” replies back to all, and so on. You also have other helpful combinations such as “g then i” which will bring you go back to the inbox. If you want to use shortcuts, you’ll have to turn the feature on (it’s off by default).  Learn more about how to do that here

My next post discusses how to use Gmail and Google Docs to manage a small virtual project.

10 Responses to 5 Reasons to Change your Email Account to Gmail Today

  1. I switched to GMail back in ’07, and it was the best thing I ever did … I get hundreds of PR emails per day pitching bands to me for my blog, in addition to editorial emails from sites I write for; without GMail I’d be a disorganized email mess.

  2. Perfect timing! GMail just updated their user interface today!

    • TheCouchManager

      Yup, I got the Gmail interface update notification hours after I posted the article :) I really like the new design – much cleaner.

  3. Please do correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you can get hotmail to forward to Gmail. It doesn’t have POP/IMAP and you can’t set it to forward to anything that’s not microsoft.

    or have I missed something?

    • TheCouchManager

      Hey Andrew – you certainly can have Gmail check your Hotmail account using POP3 and that would fetch all those emails for you (that’s how I have it set up). Here’s a link with some more info on how to set it up: http://lifehac.kr/GG5o1

  4. I just converted to gmail and im very happy with it especially you can add on to it calenders etc.

  5. Sahal Areepurath

    Hassan, I came across your blog in a roundabout way. Fantastic site, love the great productivity tips! I switched over to gmail back at CMU (2002/2003). Best thing I ever did, I can barely cope with the outlook/lotus notes forced on me at work :-)

    Look forward to checking out your productive office book. Best-Sahal

    • TheCouchManager

      Sahal – thanks for the kind comments & glad you liked the blog! Yup, it did take me quite a while to make the shift to Gmail compared to everyone else (especially our tech-savvy CMU colleagues :) ), but better late than never.

  6. BTW, one more positive about this is the attachments. You can drag and drop the files, which is a big time saver.