FREE GUIDES: How to get the most out of Google

FREE GUIDES: How to get the most out of Google


This free guide is designed to educate you on how to get the most out of google to organise your life, stay productive, reduce stress and enjoy life. Google offers a range of free tools which link together and are very useful in many ways.  We will look at Gmail, Google calendar and Google Drive individually and then how everything relates to turn you into an organisational super hero.


Gmail is the best email client to use for personal and business, if you do not already have a gmail account, get one here. If you have a gmail address, in effect you have a Google account which gives you access to the whole Google suite of free apps:


Your google account links to your mobile phone, so make sure you use your correct and current mobile number. We are going to have a lot of confidential information in the account so it is very important you turn on two step verification. This means when you try and sign in using your email and password, the next step will be to enter a unique code sent immediately to your mobile phone.

The great thing is, once you have done it once on your computer you can tell it to stop taking you through the two step verification, but only on that computer.  This just means that if anyone else gets your email and password they will never be able to get into your whole Google account without your mobile phone.

  1. Go to Google Account dashboard
  2. Click SIGNING INTO GOOGLE under sign in and security
  4. Click SET UP and complete the process.

Own Email Addresses

Gmail allows you to pipe 5 other email addresses through your gmail address and also offers many import tools to make the move from other popular email providers such as outlook and hotmail as easy as possible. This means you can have you work or business email addresses all coming through the same account.

Add your own emails to gmail:

  1. Open gmail
  2. Go to settings (in dropdown menu from cog in top right)
  3. Click ACCOUNTS & IMPORT tab
  4. Either import contacts and email from existing email provider or add any email address using ADD A POP 3 ACOUNT YOU OWN
  5. You will need to server details and password for the POP3 option.

Having everything in once place, especially if you are running multiple businesses, makes organisation and communication a lot more efficient. You can then set up automatic filters and folders to keep multiple inboxes seamlessly organised.

Benefits of Gmail?

  • Labels are used instead of folders. This provides more flexibility in organising your emails. In effect, each email is only in existence once, but you can tag it with multiple labels meaning it will appear in several different folder locations.
  • Google spam filter is the best in the business, it works hard to curate your emails, however if you keep receiving something you do not want, simply press the SPAM button in the top bar and you will never be bothered again.
  • Google is the king of search, this does not stop in gmail. You can search for anything at anytime using the search bar at the top. You can search by contact, label or any combination of words contained in an email.
  • Your emails are always safe. They are on the cloud. You will never lose anything. Having your emails tied to something installed on your computer potentially you could loose everything and have to start again. This also means you can login in anywhere on any device giving further flexibility to using gmail.
  • Gmail has some very useful integrations between Google Calendar and Google Drive. We will look at these in depth later.
  • Labs are available to upgrade your superpowers. These are free plugins to further improve your gmail experience.

Recommended Gmail Labs

Access labs by clicking SETTINGS > LABS or click here.

  • Send and archive: Turns the send button into a send and archive button. This means that the email is cleared from the inbox saving several clicks each time you send an email. It may not sound like a lot but over time this will save you hours.
  • Canned Responses: Allows you to save prewritten emails and quickly paste them into any email. This is a great time saver if you send similar emails often.
  • Auto Advance: Automatically shows the next conversation once you archive or delete and email instead of going back to the inbox. This saves a lot of time when batch processing your inbox.
  • Custom Keyboard Shortcuts: If your a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you will love this. This lab adds a new tab to the setting bar allowing you to make any number of keyboard shortcuts to mirror your favourite gmail functions.
  • Boomerang: Let’s you send and email and choose a time for it to boomerang back to your inbox as a reminder of your recipients actions.

Streak CRM for Gmail

Streak CRM is a powerful accompaniment for Gmail. It is primarily a CRM sales tool but has many uses all of which really allow you to tailor you set up and bring everything together. Streak is a paid service, however there is a free version available with limited options. The free version will suffice for most individuals. The paid plans may be beneficial if you are working or managing a team.


You may also benefit from this guide: How to achieve inbox 0 forever

Google Drive 

Think of Goole Drive as Dropbox meets Microsoft office on the cloud. Google Drive is your virtual hard drive in outer space and can be set up to mirror everything or part of what is on your computer on Google’s vast storage networks on a continual basis. Meaning, if you loose something or anything nasty happens to your hardware, fear not, Google has you covered and you can download all your data and be as good as new in a matter of hours.

“93% of people do not back up their data and on average loose everything twice in their lifetime”


Google gives everyone 15GB of free space to use across their gmail and drive. For many when starting out, this is plenty. However, as we go deeper into the benefits of Google Drive, you may decide it is a good idea to upgrade your storage.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 06.44.21To upgrade your storage go to Google Drive and press UPGRADE STORAGE in the bottom left hand corner. You will be able to view your current usage and choose a preferred upgrade option. We recommend the 100GB at just $1.99 per month for most users.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 06.49.49

Unless you have a lot of business files or media this storage option will allow the average person to back up all their files, pictures and media.

Install Google Drive for Desktop

Next you need to install the Google Drive software on your computer, either click the icon or go here. Choose all the standard settings and complete the install. The software will now make a new Google Drive folder on your computer accessible by pressing FINDER on Mac or MY COMPUTER on a PC.

The easiest way to choose what you would like backed up is to move the chosen folders into the Google Drive folder. We recommend making this new folder, the one folder you keep everything in, replacing MY DOCUMENTS or any other location you store everything. Google will then make copies of all your files on its servers, depending on the amount of date this could take anywhere between a few hours and a few days.

Storing Music on Google Drive

If you using iTunes for music, we thoroughly recommend using Google Drive to backup all your music. There is nothing worse than loosing your whole collection because of a faulty hard drive. Google Drive is cheaper and slicker than Apple Cloud services. Simply move your whole music folder to the new Google Drive folder. Go to iTunes preferences and change the music location folder to the new location. Now, whatever changes you do to your music collection, you can be rest assured it is continually being backed up, never to be lost again.

How Google Drive works

Making new documents in Google DriveOnce everything is set up, you do not have to do anything more, just carry on as usual. You may notice at times the Google Drive icon doing things, this is syncing your updates to the Google Cloud. It will continually make a mirror image of your Google Drive folder in the cloud, it checks for changes every few seconds.

Now you can carry on as normal, or you can turn yourself into a Google Drive warrior by familiarising yourself with the Google Drive dashboard.

Click the NEW button in the top left to open up all the Google Drive options. You can do everything and more you can do from your computer meaning working remotely has never been simpler.

  1. Folders and files can be accessed from anywhere on any computer just as they appear on your computer.
  2. Any changes made from the dashboard will sync to your computer and vice versa.
  3. You can make new folders, organise and rearrange your files as you please.
  4. You can use Google Docs from within Google Drive, this means free word processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings. Yes, this means no need to pay for Microsoft Office anymore.
  5. Google Drive provide great smartphone apps across all platforms to access your complete Drive on the go.
  6. You can use the smartphone apps to take pictures of anything, documents, bills etc and they will be automatically uploaded to your drive to be named and filed later. Yes, no more paper, ever.
  7. Any documents you start or edit are continually saved on Google Drive
  8. You can share folders or documents with anyone else with a Google account. This makes co-working amazingly easy and productive.
  9. An activity log on the right hand side can be turned on/off. Again, great for co-working.
  10. Quickly access recent or shared with you items from the menu on the left hand side.
  11. Google offers a handy search bar at the top making it incredibly easy to find files and folders

Google Docs

Think of Google Docs like Microsoft Office, on the cloud, for free. Google Docs is a collection of applications within Google Drive allowing you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings

You can use Google Docs offline or online. To use it offline, all you need to do is follow these instructions.

You can make new folders, documents, spreadsheets and presentations by clicking NEW in the top left. New documents are automatically located in the main drive, unless you made the document while in a subfolder. You never have to same anything on Google Drive, it saves everything every second so nothing is ever lots. It is always a good idea to name your documents using the box in the top left hand corner.

The software is very similar if not easier than Microsoft Office. The layout and buttons are very self explanatory and most of the known keyboard shortcuts are exactly the same throughout all the Drive applications.

Sharing Documents

The real benefit of using Google Drive is the extremely easy way to share documents and folders containing anything with other people. This is great for co working, team projects, meetings and any other type of ongoing collaboration. Google allows you to share with different permissions. You can share documents and folders and allow others to edit, comment or just view what you have shared.

Shared editing is great if you are collaborating with other people, you can all work and type into the document at the same time or different times. Allowing just comments means you can share documents with people you want feedback or to review your information. The view only feature means you can show people the information but they have no way of editing anything. This can work really in organisations to have information shared for employees to access at anytime. Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 16.21.26 1

Google used to just allow you to share with fellow Google users. They have now opened up a public link option, called a shareable link in the top right hand of the share box as shown to the right.

When you click the shareable link Google provides you with a unique link you can send to anyone and they will be able to access the document without logging in or even owning a Google account.


optons / admin










Word files


Starting documents








Bill and pictures


Backing up everything

Date $1.99 for 100GB

Backing up everything – 93% of people dont back up everything al loose it all twice.



How the all link

Tasks to calendar to gmail

archive and send

Michael Todd

I run Nonconformity University and Lifemaster

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