Bring on the add-ons
8. Add a snooze button to your inbox
Can't attend to a particular message just now? Even if you mark it as unread, newer email will eventually push it down and out of sight. What you need is a way to "snooze" that message, to make it return to the top of your inbox at a designated time. Two great options are Boomerang and Snooze Your Email. Both integrate with Gmail, adding buttons that make it simple to set the delay for a specific number of minutes or days. Boomerang works with Chrome and Firefox and costs $5 per month; Snooze Your Email is free, but works only with Chrome.
9. Turn email into to-dos
Gmail has a built-in task list, but it's a little anemic--especially if you want to access that list elsewhere. If you're looking for something more robust, check out Astrid, a free Web-based to-do manager that consistently ranks among users' favorites. The new Remind Me add-on for Google Chrome brings the Astrid service to Gmail: You can view your current tasks and, even better, click a button to turn an email message into a new task.
10. Automatically save Gmail attachments to your favorite cloud
Ever wish you could save attachments directly to, say, your Dropbox account? Attachments.me is a free service that can upload Gmail attachments to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive. Just install its browser plug-in (available for Chrome and Firefox), and then link it with one or more of the aforementioned cloud services. With that done, it indexes all your attachments and then catalogs them for easy viewing and searching. With just a few clicks, you can view, download, share, or archive an attachment.
11. Give Gmail a social makeover
You know the drill: You get an email message from LinkedIn, Twitter, or the like, and then you have to click a link inside that message to view the connection, link, update, or whatever. PowerInbox embeds all that stuff within Gmail proper, allowing you to view the contents of various social-network messages right inside the messages. This Chrome add-on also lets you perform certain actions, such as commenting on Facebook updates and accepting contact requests.
12. Make your inbox "smartr"