Time is money.

Every second of inefficiency is paid for by either you or your clients – or both.

Clients expect ever-increasing value from you. Therefore, it’s vital that you constantly refine your processes to squeeze more value from every hour you bill them.

In this article, I’m going to show you how I save 11 seconds for each email attachment that I send. You’re going to need to use Gmail for this hack to work (although I’m sure other email hosts provide similar functionality). By following this process, you too can avoid the “hunt and peck” method of sending attachments – and deliver greater value to clients.

Here’s a preview of the steps I discuss below:

  • Draft your email
  • Find the file in your documents
  • Drag the email attachment into the footer of the email draft
  • Send the email

The “Old Way” of Sending Attachments

I must admit that for many years I too used the “hunt and peck” method of sending email attachments. You know the routine. You click “add attachment” or “attach files,” which launches your documents folder. From there, you have to click through a dozen subfolders to find the exact document you want to attach.

The problem I run into with this method is that I always like to double check that I’m attaching the correct file. However, I can’t actually preview the document that I’m attaching when following this method. I can only select a file to attach. So, in short, I would usually end up opening my document folder in a new window, clicking back through the subfolders, confirming the file is correct, and then closing the folder. Then, I would repeat the attachment process and select the aforementioned file. On average, this takes about 20 seconds.

A Better Way to Do Gmail Attachments

Gmail’s latest version allows you to bypass the “old way” of uploading attachments to emails. Here’s how I do it:

1. Draft the email as usual.

2. Find the file in your document folder and confirm it is what you want to attach. Have both the Gmail draft up in one window and the file folder open in another window. (Another option would simply be to have the desired file saved on your desktop).

3. Next, click on the file you want to attach. Drag it over into your Gmail browser and release the file once you see the “Drop files here” text appear.

4. Send your email.

Once you get good at this, you’ll find this only takes about 9 seconds. You just saved 11 seconds. Bravo.

Quantify the Value of This Hack

You might be thinking that I’m going overboard here. Well, every second counts – especially over the course of a calendar year. Let’s assume that you work 250 days per year (lightweight). Assuming you send 5 attachments per day, that would save you almost one minute per day. Over the course of a year, you would save over four hours of wasted time. Not bad, huh?

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Matt Keener is the original "Executive in Sweatpants," having built a successful online consulting business (from home). His best-selling book offers tips for capitalizing on outsourcing and freelancing. Matt holds an MBA and has been featured by many recognizable brands, including Upwork (formerly oDesk), Elance, Insightly, the Dave Ramsey Show, and Entrepreneur.com.

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