Friday, December 4, 2020

4 More "Slept On" Aspects of Google Workplace

If you say something is "slept on", you are saying it is very good, but often ignored or not recognized. Google Workspace, formerly GSuite, is full of "slept on" features that many people are unaware of or forget are there. Here are four more "slept on" features of Google Workspace.

Priority Tab in Google Drive

When the Priority tab arrived in Google Drive, I wasn't sure exactly what to do with it. But one day, I noticed the excessive amount of tabs I had open in Chrome. Many of those tabs were files that were saved in Google Drive. I left them open because I wanted quick access to them. I could have Starred them, but the Starred folder isn't easy to organize. It was at this moment I realized the usefulness of Google Drive's Priority tab.

Too many Chrome tabs open can slow your computer down. Since I wanted easy and organizable access to many Drive files, Priority was the answer. In the Priority tab, I can create workspaces that serve as easy access hubs for my go-to files. You can add files to a Workspace by right clicking on any file in Drive.

Instead of having my EduProtocols templates open in Chrome constantly, I simply put them in a Workspace in the Priority Tab. With them tucked away in a Workspace, the only Chrome tab I need open is Drive. This does well to declutter Chrome.

When you click View workspace, you can see all of the files you've placed there. You may be wondering how this is different from a folder? The difference is the accessibility. Folders, oftentimes, need to be fished out of a busy Google Drive. Workspaces are prominently displayed in the Priority tab. To learn more about Workspaces, check this previous blog post.

Chrome Tab Groups

Multitasking and necessity are reasons why most of us have many Chrome tabs open simultaneously. As mentioned above, using Workspaces in the Google Drive Priority tab are a good way to limit the amount of open tabs. But what about the tabs that can't be put into a Workspace? Chrome Tab Groups are a recent feature that can help you organize the tabs you must keep open.

To use Tab Groups, right click on a tab and hover over Add Tab to Group and either create a New Group or add it to an already existing Tab Group.

Tab Groups can be color coded and moved horizontally at the top of Chrome. Whatever color you choose for that Group, you will see that same color line below the tabs in that Group. This can be very useful for organizing and finding your go-to tabs while you work.

Schedule Send in Gmail

Sleeping at the bottom of the compose window in Gmail is the ability to schedule emails. At first glance, this doesn't sound like a big deal, but when you think about it, this is very valuable. We all have those colleagues who send emails after hours. These messages often can wait until contractual hours the next day. If this is you, Schedule send in Gmail will help stem the tide of after hours emails. 

In distance learning, we have learned that students do work at all hours. Oftentimes, if you email them first thing in the morning, they likely will not see it. Knowing their sleeping and activity patterns, you can schedule the email later in the day when they will be more likely to see it and respond accordingly.

You'll find Schedule send by clicking the little arrow next to the blue Send button at the bottom of the Gmail Compose window.

After clicking Schedule send, a small window will pop up with a variety of options. Gmail gives you three preset options. If you want a specific time, click Pick date & time.

Gmail Templates

Sleeping in the bottom right corner of the Gmail Compose window is the ability to save often sent messages as a template. Think of the amount of time that can be saved not having to type out similar messages multiple times. I use this weekly for reminders for students to turn in work and for teachers to join on-call office hours in Google Meet.

You will need to turn on Templates by going to Settings in Gmail. Go to Advanced and toggle on Templates. Once turned on, when you click the three dots in the bottom right corner of the Gmail Compose window, you'll see Templates as an option.

If you've already composed the message you want to reuse, hover over Templates and slide over and click Save draft as template. The next time you compose an email, repeat the steps above. You'll see your template right above where it says Save draft as template. Boom! Time saved!

Google Workspace is full of "slept on" features that can be huge time savers and workflow enhancers. What are your favorite slept on features? Share them with me and they might make an appearance on this blog. If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Hangouts at

My book, The Complete EdTech Coach: An Organic Approach to Digital Learning, co-authored with my wife Katherine Goyette is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase. It is published by Dave Burgess Publishing. Be sure to follow the hashtag #OrganicEdTech and #CVTechTalk for updates.

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