Gmail SuperStars: Productivity Tweak for Email Ninjas

Communication, Featured, ToolBox Feb 16, 2010 8 Comments

Our lives have been taken over by email – everything from work tasks to notifications letting you know a friend posted something on Facebook.

You undoubtedly use Gmail, like any smart person would, and already enjoy the many benefits it has to offer: world class spam protection, email filters, labels, automatically getting email from other accounts, sending email out from different email addresses, etc – the list goes on.

But if you’re like me, despite all these wonderful free services, emails still pile up, stress rises, and productivity slows to a halt.

The Solution: Custom Gmail Stars

You probably already use the basic Gmail function of “starring” an email with the default yellow star (), but I would like to show you my awesome approach to managing emails like a true Gmail Ninja.

Gmail has a sweet Labs service called “Superstars”, and with a few simple tweaks you too can be on your way to managing emails like a Gmail Ninja.

Step 1

Open Gmail, click on the “Settings” link at the top right-hand side of the page and find the “Lab” link in your tabbed menu.  Locate the “Superstars” feature, enable, and click the “save changes” button.

Step 2

Once the page reloads, go back to the Settings page (“General” tab), and choose the following stars () by dragging and dropping into the “In use” section with your mouse:

It should look something like this once you’re done:

Click the “Save Changes” button.

Step 3

Start starring emails with your new set of superstars by clicking repeatedly on the blank star next to an email until you find the one that suites you best.

Use the following table as a guide for using your new stars:

*Of course you don’t have to use my exact star set and/or definitions.   Your own stars & definitions for what each star represents may change.  This is just what happens to works for me.

Hopefully you find this to be helpful and maybe, just maybe, we can all decrease our email stress and start managing our emails instead of the other way around.  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you’ve found this to be helpful or if you’ve come up with your own strategy for managing emails like a true Gmail Ninja.

8 Responses to “Gmail SuperStars: Productivity Tweak for Email Ninjas”

  1. Reply Eric Sorensen says:

    David, Nice work on this post. I have occasionally found that I didn’t know how to manage all the emails in my inbox. I try to keep things pretty streamlined, yet sometimes I just can’t resolve every email in 1 setting. I like your advice! Thanks. I am going to enable that “lab” immediately.

  2. Reply Chais Meyer says:

    David,

    I appreciate you turning me onto this custom star system about a month ago! It is so nice to have multiple visuals, helping me know where I’m at in my personal and professional life.

    Thanks again and great looking blog!
    ~Chais

  3. Reply David Lano says:

    @Eric – Thanks! Glad I could help.

    @Chais – You’re welcome! :)

  4. Reply Michelle says:

    David, Nice work on this post. I have occasionally found that I didn’t know how to manage all the emails in my inbox. I try to keep things pretty streamlined, yet sometimes I just can’t resolve every email in 1 setting. I like your advice! Thanks. I am going to enable that “lab” immediately.

  5. Reply Alan Gross says:

    Great post. I read several articles and posts on Gmail Stars and yours was the one that clicked.

  6. Reply Using Gmail for Your Business | oDesk.com says:

    [...] just a few clicks of the mouse. For more on effectively using superstars, check out this “Gmail Stars” post from David [...]

  7. Reply Helena says:

    I didn’t know that….thanks!!

  8. Reply Notes from Less Is More: Simple Productivity Hacks says:

    [...] Gmail, Use Icon’s to Flag E-mails Set up Gmail to use exclamation marks, question marks and other icons in addition to [...]

Leave a Reply