As a digital superhero I find myself struggling with managing multiple google accounts. I have my personal account, at least one agency account and multiple client accounts for different purposes.
What Can Go Wrong?
Replying to a client or approaching a business lead accidentally using another client’s email address or my private address is at the very least awkward. Bad things tend to happen if I miss an important mail from a client or their customers simply because I forgot to check the account they want me to use for that project.
Why So Many Accounts?
Obviously, I need a professional e-mail address from my workplace, but I also ofteen need addresses from my clients’ domains to log in and access resources they have on hand for me to do my job. In other cases I am given the responsibility of representing my clients in ways that require a separate email address with their domain.
So I have many accounts. Some days I don’t even know who I am supposed to be.
Many of you probably have at least a private account and a work account because separating work mail from private mail is expected.
It all gets a little difficult to keep track of and manage, but I have a system that is under constant revision (if you guys have any cool or different ways of doing things, let me know in the comments).
Browser-based Gmail Management
This post focuses on browser-based use of Gmail accounts.
I like setting up the browser based client to keep track of multiple email addresses so that I can get a nice overview of my communicatons from any computer that I happen to come across by simply logging in to Gmail.
Accessing your Gmail accounts from your Android phone via the app is a different animal that I’ll cover at a later point.
For now, here are the three tips to boosting your “get ‘er done” superpower at work.
But First, How to Switch Google Accounts 101
First of all, Gmail does allow you to log in to multiple accounts, and it’s easy enough to do.
Switching between accounts in the browser is quite simple. Whenever you’re using a google product you will always find a dropdown menu with your different accounts listed In the top right corner of your browser. If an account isn’t listed you can easily add it from here.
The problem with managing multiple Gmail accounts this way is that there’s no good way of keeping an eye on multiple inboxes at the same time. Keeping them all separate means I have to remember to physically log in to each account or switch to the correct tab to see if anything’s up with that account. I’m lazy and scatterbrained, so this is not a good solution for me.
I’ve experimented with several ways of solving this, but I’ve only found one which I really like and works on any computer I decide to log in to.
Power move #1: Set up Gmail Forwarding
The easiest way to get an overview of several gmail accounts in one window is to forward your mail to one central account and then authorizing that account to allow you to send mail on behalf of the other accounts. Go to the account you wish to forward mail from and go to the settings menu which can be found in the top right corner under the account switching menu.
Your Gmail is now forwarded to your central account.
Power move #2: Set up SMTP Authorization
Being able to send from all of your Gmail accounts using one central account is essential to be effective.
To authorize your central account to send from multiple email accounts, switch to the account you wish to use as your central account and go to the settings menu, but this time select the Accounts tab.
Fill out the appropriate settings for “Send mail as”. Follow the instructions to get your central account authorized. I find that selecting the “Reply from the same address as the message was sent to” option makes things a whole lot easier when managing multiple accounts.
Note that there is a “Grant access to your account” setting on my central Gmail account. I’ve found that this doesn’t work when mixing Gmail for businesses and private Gmail accounts which is a real shame.
Power Move #3: Split that Inbox
I like to split my inbox in two so i have a private and a work inbox side by side like this, but you can divide your inbox however you like.
To do this you need to enable “Multiple inboxes” on the “Labs” tab of your settings page like so:
Once enabled, you can go to the “multiple inboxes” tab on your settings page to configure different inbox panels to filter mail sent to different accounts. You can have one pane for mail sent to:email@example.com and another for mail sent to:firstname.lastname@example.org .
Once you’ve set the split inbox to display mails from whichever accounts you like, you probably want to set up a filter for your main inbox to not display mail from those accounts.
I hope these tips help you out on your quest to efficiency. Feel free to point out any mistakes or ask questions in the comments.
Managing multiple accounts gets especially challenging when like to do some things on the go using your phone.There are so many important tools that are tied to google accounts. Android phones are also tied a Google account for basic operation of things like contact lists and so on.
I’m mainly an Android user, so I’ll bring up the different ways that I manage Youtube, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, and the Google Play store using multiple accounts.