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By Jayson DeMers

There’s a reason Gmail has become so popular — it’s free, it’s easy to use and it keeps evolving. To top it all off, Gmail offers even more improvements through the use of extensions, which are optional, user-installed upgrades that add new features or improve on features that already exist within the platform.

These are some of the best Gmail extensions available, giving you the information, the tools and the ability to improve your productivity and make your life easier:

  • Gmail Metrics. How much time do you really spend on email? Chances are, it’s more than you think. With Gmail Metrics, you can learn valuable information about your email habits, including how much time you spend writing and reading, and how many emails you send and receive each day — as well as from whom. It’s the first step in mastering email productivity, and is even more valuable when used to monitor team email productivity.
  • Boomerang. Boomerang enables you to set a “boomerang” on sent emails, which reminds you if they aren’t replied to after a certain amount of time. It’s the perfect tool for preventing conversations — such as those with employees, colleagues, vendors, clients, and sales leads – from falling through the cracks.
  • Streak. An extension geared toward sales teams, Streak allows you to turn Gmail into an interactive CRM. It may take some time to get used to the new layout of your inbox, but it allows you to organize your sales funnel, track and manage your leads, set reminders for follow-ups and appointments, and collaborate on various tasks.
  • Todoist. Todoist is an extension designed to turn your email inbox into a complete task management system. You can convert all your emails into individual tasks, which you can then aggregate and check off, one by one, until you reach your goals for the day or week. If you struggle to keep your inbox free from clutter, or if you often miss responses, this is the extension for you.
  • ActiveInbox. ActiveInbox is another app that lets you turn all your messages into tasks, which you can then sort, organize, prioritize, and track to make sure you’re getting things done. You can group tasks into projects, and measure your effectiveness — not to mention making sure you don’t leave anything incomplete or neglected.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Formerly known as Rapportive, this is an email extension for salespeople, or anyone who wants to learn more about who they’re emailing. It draws in information on all your email contacts, linking automatically to social media sites to pull in details that may be relevant to your job. If you’re especially forgetful, or if you just need more details to do your job well, it’s a beneficial addition.
  • HelloSign. If you’re tired of signing documents by printing, signing, and scanning, or dealing with document managers, HelloSign is ideal for you. It allows users to sign documents right from Gmail—no extra steps required.
  • KeyRocket. If you like saving time with shortcuts, check out KeyRocket. KeyRocket observes all your actions within Gmail, and when you take an action that could be done faster with a keyboard shortcut, it alerts you. It’s a fast way to learn all the shortcuts that Gmail has to offer.
  • Ginger. Have you ever sent an email with an embarrassing typo? Ginger will make sure that never happens again; the extension will check for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and overall sentence structure. It even offers limited translating abilities for 40 different languages.
  • Followup.cc. Followup.cc is an extension that allows you to draft emails to schedule and send at any time in the future. You can also send yourself reminders to follow-up with your main contacts, and see if and when your emails are read.

You’re going to spend at least half your day managing, sending and reading emails, so why not make the most of it? Use these extensions to streamline your experience and spend more time on the tasks that make better use of your skills. Many are free or offer a free trial for a limited time, so what have you got to lose in experimenting?

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Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn or Twitter.