Switching to Gmail Web-App

I recently made the switch to the Gmail web-app.  I have had a Gmail address (or two) for a long time.  However, I have always used a local application to access my email.  For years, I used the standard mail app that comes with OSX.  Recently, I had switched to Sparrow.  However, after Sparrow was acquired by Google, I knew it was a matter of time before I needed to find something else.  In the last few months, Sparrow was having some glitches that bothered me enough to start looking around and make a switch once again.

I looked for a few weeks, and where I ended surprised even me.  I really don’t like the web interface for Gmail.  But in the end… functionality was what won the day.  The biggest gain for me, was that once I get the Gmail interface set up the way I want it, I can access my email in that EXACT interface from anywhere. First, I forwarded ALL of my emails to my Gmail account, and then I set each email up to send from there as well.  Gmail can automatically respond from the same address that a message was sent to me on… so now I don’t even need to know what address a message comes in on.  If I respond, Gmail responds from the correct address (you do have to select this setting).  Still, I set up labels for each of my emails, just so I can keep track of where conversations are happening.

Over all, it has taken me a few weeks to get things the way I like them.  Now I have my labels and filters set up in a way that works for me, and I am slowly getting accustomed to Gmail shortcuts.  The final step for me, was to clean things up.  I turned to Gmelius for that.  Gmelius allows you to take out adds and clean the interface up a bit (but only in Chrome).  Of course, If I access my Gmail from someone else’s computer, it won’t have the final touches that Gmelius adds. The functionality will be the same, though, and I can live with that.

Now that I am on the flip-side of having made the switch… I can hardly imagine going back to a stand-alone email app.  I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Google (and all super-huge mega companies that are trying to rule the world), but the functionality they offer for email is fantastic for my usage.

 

The Sparrow “ding”

Sometimes small details can really make a difference in our ability to be present and focus on what is in front of us.  When it comes to working on anything related to a computer, my ability to focus is, well, almost scary.  The world could be coming to an end, and I might not know it if I am in the middle of building a web site.  However, when I am playing with my kids, or doing some chores around the house…  I can be focused at times, but certain things will throw me off.  The biggest one:  the classic “ding” sound from Sparrow letting me know I have a new email.

In theory, I like having an audible notification that I have a new email.  However, when I am eating dinner or reading a book with one of my kids and that little “ding” goes off, it’s all I can do to keep from checking.  All of a sudden, my email has a tyrannical hold on my thought process.  The sound sits in my head until I check the darn thing.  Our family computer sits in our great room, where we spend most of our time.  If I am home, I’ll likely hear the sound.  Of coure, I usually end up checking it to make sure it isn’t anything important.  Thing is, I rarely have an important email of such magnitude that I would need to check it out right away.  Almost never, really.

I am not sure why I let this go on so long.  Such a simple thing… I turned off the sound notification on Sparrow the other day.  It makes a huge difference.  I still check my email quite often.  But now, I wait until after dinner, or after I am done reading or playing with my kids.   I love it… I changed one little setting on my email client and my ability to be present is better.  Not perfect by any stretch, but better.