Better Gmail for Maximum Email Efficiency

I love Gmail. Hands down, it’s the best web-based email server out there. The advertising and crap is low, there aren’t any distracting images, and it has an interface that is clean and easy to use. Spam is nearly nonexistant; I only receive one spam mail every two months or so. All Google products are great ones, in my experience, and Gmail is elite. The best.

It just got better. One drawback of Gmail is the lack of nested labels (or folders, same thing) you can sort email into, keeping your inbox and archived messages organized. Gmail has labels, sure, but with the number of emails I receive, my labels currently number 30 and counting. I can’t group similar emails but still keep them sorted and separate. Hence, I have one label for each writer, each client, each auction site… Harry doesn’t dare log into my account, even when I’m away for a day or two, because he gets overwhelmed. So do I.

No more. As I mentioned, Gmail just got better. A friend of mine, after listening to me mention the labeling issue, did some scrounging and whipped me over a link to the Better Gmail plug-in for Firefox (yes, Firefox wins over IE any day), and I’m thrilled with the results.

The user can create nested labels to sort email even better. There is a preview pane for incoming emails. There are handy filter features that you can apply instantly. I’m not crazy about the five skins offered (boring), but the big buttons might come in handy for those who have a hard time reading small text.

Speaking of reading text, I’m one of those lucky souls that has a brain running on jet fuel, which means too much of the same text eventually all looks just like words. Want to catch my attention? Color code. My fridge has a dry erase board and I have five separate colors to remember things.

So learning that I could not only label my emails more efficiently but color-code them nearly knocked me off my chair. Red for Harry, blue for writers, orange for clients… Awesome. That, and the way that each email now has an icon at the end for attachments. Looking at my screen, which currently lists over 25 emails, I can see at a glance which emails have .doc attachments, which have pictures, and which have zips.

And joy!! There is an email attachment reminder. I looked for the damned thing for half an hour, until I typed an email to someone that said, “I’ve attached the file.” If I forget the attachment (I often do), Gmail pops up and reminds me. Fan-friggin-tastic.

Gmail is running slightly slower since I’ve installed the plug-in, however. That one thing may or may not be a con for this handy tool. The lag is probably nearly imperceptible to the average user and worth the minor delay considering all the features I now have. Those features include other goodies, too (far too many to list). It’s also taken me a couple of searches to figure out how to get things to work.

Check out the Better Gmail plug-in at and give it a whirl. Don’t like it? Remove it, end of story.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.