*Frame freeze!* If we were in a 2000’s movie, right now would be an epic ‘Yup! That's me; you’re probably wondering how I got into this situation’ moment.
Chances are, you ended up on this page after procrastinating by looking for productivity tips online for at least half an hour. Half an hour of your precious time! Been there, done that. But what if I say you’re actually productive at this very moment? It’s all about how you look at it.
Merriam Webster defined being productive as ‘having the quality or power of producing, especially, in abundance’. Couldn’t have said it better, could it? As an ex-angsty teenager with a PhD in procrastination, I disagree. Despite being an accurate definition, it is also a very vague one. It gives you no sense of direction and is all-in-all very upsetting in terms of measuring how well you’re handling your responsibilities. And, no shade to George and Charles Websters, this approach to productivity is a somewhat outdated one, too. Everyone who has tried to get their stuff together and be the best version of themselves in the 21st century knows that the modern understanding of productivity is all about being efficient. Do more by doing less.
And if you don’t trust me on this one, I’m not alone. Some pretty credible people are on the same page as I here. For instance, CBRE Americas CEO Jim Wilson used a very similar wording when talking to Forbes on the issue of productivity, “Our clients are focused on doing more and producing more with less. Everybody's focused on what they can do to boost productivity within the context of the workplace.”
So, organising and rearranging your contacts to make them more accessible and optimised is one of the prime examples of modern-day productivity! Congrats! Now it’s time to learn more about how to get the most out of it with Google Contacts.
What Is Google Contacts?
First things first, let’s cover the basics. What exactly is Google Contacts, and why the heck does it sound so familiar?
Google Contacts is a well-developed contact management tool available in the free email service Gmail. It can be used as both a standalone service and a part of the G Suite.
Now that you have an understanding of what it is, it is time for a good old example of how it works. If you are a Gmail user, you know the bliss of not having to remember practically anyone’s email address because Google does it for you. That is undeniably convenient. But have you ever wondered how Google knows all that? Google Contacts is the answer! All the email addresses of the people you have ever interacted with via Gmail are stored within the system waiting to be used again.
Why Use Google Contacts?
As I have already mentioned, you’ve probably already been using Google Contacts, even if it wasn’t intentional. But now that we’re on a quest of incorporating Google Contacts into our business routine and making the most out of it let’s evaluate whether it’s worth the hype or not. Spoiler alert, it is. Here are some of the thing you can do in Google Contacts to improve your productivity:
- Create, store and organise contact information of thousands of individuals.
- Sync your contacts with Gmail to update them regularly and promptly.
- Create groups to manage segments of people at once.
- Look up contact information for anyone within your company.
- Import and export your contacts.
However, this list is not exhaustive. Being a part of the Google ecosystem, Google Contacts works in harmony with other Google products, mutually increasing the productivity metrics of each other. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive - all of these services can become much more efficient if you manage your Google Contacts correctly. And if you add a little bit of CRM magic to your contacts, you will definitely become the master of productivity!
How To Use Google Contacts?
Google Contacts are less complex than some other products released by Google, which means you can easily wrap your head around how everything works yourself. A way more productive method of doing it, however, would be to follow this comprehensive guide into the world of Google Contacts. Let’s go!
Where Are My Google Contacts
The reason why you might be confused about where to find your Google Contacts is that there isn’t a prominent link to this contact manager software directly from Gmail. ‘But I remember there being one!..’ You’re right, there’s no Mandela effect trickery in this one. If you have been a Google user for a while, you may remember the little ‘Contacts’ button on the sidebar tab of the mail app. With the new updated version of G Suite, it has disappeared.
Well, actually, not really. It has just changed locations. Today, all your contacts have a designated area for them, as they should! You can get to your Google Contacts simply by going to the app drawer icon at the very top on the right side of your screen and scrolling down to Contacts.
That’s not complicated, is it? But this article is all about spilling the tea, so let me give you a quick little pro tip that will instantly minimise your search time to exactly under a second (I’ve measured with a stopwatch!). Doing more by doing less, remember?
Pro Productivity Tip For Google Contacts #1: Use Shortcuts!
- Step 1. Make sure you have your Gmail Shortcuts enabled. To do that, go to the Settings option in Gmail, and on the very first tab, the General tab, scroll down about halfway through the page till you see Keyboard shortcuts switcher. Just double-check it’s on since by default Google keeps keyboard shortcuts disabled. Don’t forget to save changes once that is selected!
- Step 2. With keyboard shortcuts on, you can access Google Contacts by pressing the combination of keys ‘G’ and ‘C’. You guessed it, those stand for Google Contacts, and it will open in a new tab immediately!
Done! The best thing about keyboard shortcuts is that you can access your Google Contacts that way from anywhere within Gmail. Besides, it would also be a nice professional touch if your boss is watching you over your shoulder - you really meant it when you said you were a tech-savvy in your CV.
Moving onto the actual interface of Google Contacts and where to find your contacts. We’ll give Google this one: they know a thing or two about how to make products user-friendly. As soon as you hit the main page of Google Contacts app, you will see a conveniently placed sidebar with a couple of tabs waiting for you to explore:
- Contacts. All the connections you’ve saved on purpose to your virtual contacts list. The keyword is ‘on purpose’. That’s right, don’t freak out if after years of you being a devoted GSuite user this folder is looking empty.
- Frequently contacted is there to show you the contacts you engage with the most.
- The Directory shows you information about people in your organisation (it’s only available to GSuite users).
- The Labels section gives you a space for your Contact Groups.
- Other contacts, a category accessible from the bottom of this tab, stores all the connections that aren’t a part of your Contacts list but you’ve had an interaction with.
How To Save Contacts To Google
Before you freak out about the lack of contacts in your Contacts list, let’s discuss how they appear there. As mentioned earlier, you have to intentionally add people you want to see on the list of contacts so they would get there. Now, how does one do that?
One way to do that is by clicking the ‘Create Contact’ button at the top-left of your Google Contacts screen. You can add one or more contacts at the same time. As you do that, you will see a form to fill out by putting the name of your contact, their organisation, job title, email address and phone address, and some notes to go with the contact card.
However, if you need to add more information about who they are, you press the ‘Show more’ button and get funky with all the info you have about that person. It has some good options as well! For instance, if you are working with some foreign partners, you may put a phonetic version of their name or give them a nickname. But even that is sometimes not enough. That’s when a third-party tool comes in handy! A neat CRM system, preferably a fully integrated with Gmail services one, would add some spice to your contacts. NetHunt Gmail CRM, for example, lets you add more fields and customise details. Try NetHunt (there’s a free 14-day trial) and get creative with your organisational process asap!
Now, what about the contacts that appear in your logs automatically, the Other Contacts? What I have just covered above is the process of adding new contacts to your contact list manually. But if you fail to do that, Google still stores information about the addresses you engage with. It sends all the email addresses of the people you have interacted with in any way (replied to their email, sent an email to or even forwarded an email) for you to work on it later. It can be extremely helpful sometimes, especially if you are anything like me and leave everything to the last minute instead of tackling things as they come. If that’s the case, just leave everything as it is - you can always go to the pseudo-label Other Contacts and add more information to transfer them into your Contacts list.
Nonetheless, if the mess is becoming too much, and your contacts become clogged, you might want to stop the engine for a second. Here come the pro tip #2.
Pro Productivity Tip For Google Contacts #2: Control Your Other Contacts!
- Step 1. While in Gmail, go to Settings and scroll down till you see the ‘Create contacts for auto-complete’ switcher.
- Step 2. Disable the automatic creation of new contacts by selecting the ‘I will add contacts’ myself radio button.
Since we’re on it, ever wondered how many contacts can you store in Google Contacts? The limit is 25 thousand contacts.
While it might seem like a lot of space, if you run a business and want to expand your network, you know how little that number is. I, personally, don’t understand why Google wouldn’t let you save more. After all, it’s in their best interest to have a more extensive database. It’s a sticky one still!
How To Edit Google Contacts
As I already said, it’s up to you whether you’d like to get your new contacts saved automatically by the system and review them later to save them properly. Editing your contacts is super easy and doesn’t take up much time at all!
To do that, you simply have to click on the contact and press the ‘Edit’ button. You can make all the changes you want from there, just don’t forget to save your progress.
However, if you like to keep everything error-free and neat, you might want to do some more advanced contacts editing.
Think of all the email addresses you have used throughout your life. That would definitely be more than one, wouldn’t it? For example, I have about three different email accounts for different purposes. It’s a matter of convenience and figuring out the work-life balance. That way, you can differentiate between colleagues and mates, just make sure you don’t mess up and send professional emails from the email addresses you created back when you were 12. HelloKittyVal28 was cute, but she’s definitely not ready to become a credible employee! Back to my point, though… I’m sure I’m not the only person with multiple addresses out there, and your customers are likely to be like me, too. This means, your Google Contacts has duplicates of the same contacts. It’s not the end of the world, but it brings your productivity rate down a notch. So, here comes pro-tip #3!
Pro Productivity Tip For Google Contacts #3: Merge & Fix For Better Productivity!
The good news is that Google Contacts does all the dirty work for you! You just need to attend to it and acknowledge the results of the work the system has completed. Merge & Fix feature allows you to merge contacts that share the same name. Of course, if your client has a common name and can potentially have thousands of namesakes, deciding whether the system should merge the contacts or not is on you.
If you do select the ‘Merge’ button, Google will keep both email addresses and other bits of information, so at the end, you get a nice and complete profile card.
If you want to be a true productivity guru, you can avoid wasting your time on manual checkups of duplicates and other errors within your Contacts. Instead, delegate this task to a well-integrated Gmail CRM system such as, say, NetHunt CRM. It will do the job for you, I promise! Who knows, maybe those 5 minutes you will save by using NetHunt will free up just enough time for you to boost your sales through the roof! The only way for you to find that out would be to try NetHunt for your early-stage startup program.
How To Backup Contacts To Google
If you already have contacts stored on your device, you might want to back them up to Google. Depending on whether you are an iOS stan or an avid Android user, the techniques for the backup vary.
- Android contacts backup. If you have a collection of contacts saved on your android device, consider yourself a lucky man. Most likely, they are automatically backing up to your Google Contacts without you having to step in. You can make sure everything is going by the plan by checking your Settings. Your System backup should be on with Contacts being synchronised with Google Contacts.
- iOS contacts backup. If you are an Apple fan, Google Contacts sync has a couple more extra steps for you. But nothing too tech-savvy, I promise. If you want a one-time backup, you should download a Google Drive app from the Appstore and go straight to Settings to enable backup. All the contacts that currently exist on your iOS device will be imported to Google Contacts. If you want to sync your device contacts with Google Contacts, you should add your Gmail account in the account section of Settings and ensure contacts backup is enabled.
How To Import Google Contacts
This article is all about highlighting the productivity benefits of using Google Contacts for your business. If you are wondering whether you can migrate to Google from another, less productive platform, we’re halfway there! Google made it so easy to import contacts into the Google address book.
On the sidebar tap of the main page of Google Contacts select the Import button. An upload window will pop up asking you to import a .csv or .vCard file previously exported from other software. Before you import your contacts, you can set a label (there is more about that later!).
Keep in mind that Google Contacts has a set limit for the number of contacts imported per singular session. So, if you are migrating from any other contact managing system to Google, you’ll have to make sure you split your .csv into several files up to 3000 contacts each.
How To Export Google Contacts
With Google Contacts, it’s not only data coming in but also data going out successfully. If you need a neat file with all your contacts accumulated over the years, for example, to put it into a CRM system, you can export it in just a couple of clicks.
Read the simplest yet the most detailed guide on exporting contacts from Google Contacts on the internet here!
Export formats supported by Google Contacts:
- The Outlook .csv format exports all data and converts names to the default character encoding.
- The Google .csv format exports all data and uses Unicode to preserve international characters. It is great for exporting data into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, but some email services e.g. Outlook are not compatible with it.
- The vCard format is an internet standard that is supported by many email programs and contact managers.
How To Move Contacts From One Google Account To Another
Unfortunately, there isn’t a shortcut to how you can swap contacts between your Google accounts in just one click. To do that, you will need to have some knowledge of contact export and import.
From there, the algorithm is straightforward: you log into the Google account that has the contacts you want to move, select them and export them as a Google .csv file by downloading them onto your computer. Then, you log into the next account, go to Google Contacts and import the previously exported contacts. Boom, done!
How To Share Google Contacts
Business people know that outsourcing is a crucial part of enhanced productivity. If you want to be the best, you need to know when to turn to others for help.
In the world of business, the aforementioned frequently implies sharing connections and in our case, giving access to our contacts. It turns out that sharing Google Contacts is easy! With some requirements:
- The Directory administrator has to enable contact sharing.
- Contacts can be shared only with people on the same domain as you.
- You and your delegates must use a PC or a laptop to access the delegated contacts, not a phone or tablet.
Once all of those requirements are met, you can start sharing your contacts by clicking the ‘Invite delegate’ in the ‘Delegate access’ section of Settings.
Whenever you give access to your contacts to your delegates, you can type in up to 25 names, separated by commas at once.
While this is the most natural way, it is not the most productive one. All the requirements make the options available to you limited. Since we are focused on the ways to improve productivity, it is a good idea to look into alternative methods of Google Contact sharing.
One of the quickest and easiest ways is approaching Google Contact sharing the business way - with a CRM. One of the top advantages of a CRM system is that it allows multiple people to collaborate on the same project together, even if they are not working on the same page. This means they can access the contacts from their accounts through the unified system!
How To Create A Group In Google Contacts
And finally, dessert! Groups are, by far, one of the most helpful features of Google Contacts that allow much better productivity.
You can assign each of your contacts a custom label by selecting the people you want to be in a particular group and clicking the label icon at the top of the page. Then, the system will offer you to either assign the selected contacts an already existing label or come up with a new one.
*End of frame freeze!* So, that’s how I got here, and it was one hell of a ride! But you gotta agree with me on this one, Google Contacts alone is one sexy tool for keeping your connections intact. But combined with a Gmail CRM system? Uh-oh, almost too good to be true!