MyPoints at ludicrous speed
Photo by: dsearls
MyPoints is a great program, but let’s face it going through their emails can get a bit tedious and time consuming. I tend to work through my MyPoints emails every couple of days. I used to do them daily, but it just wasn’t worth the hassle for a few emails. I then went to the opposite extreme and tried doing them each week and even tried every two weeks but found that some of bonus emails and surveys expire if not processed quickly. Expired emails = lost points = not good.
Over the past 6-months of using MyPoints, I’ve really worked hard to simplify the process of working through my MyPoints emails. So let me share with you how you can spend literally less than just a few minutes a day working your MyPoints emails. Yeah, yeah, I know…this all sounds like one of those late night infomercial commercials…but bear with me, I promise it’s not. Keep reading and I’ll even throw in a handy dandy email slicer absolutely free! (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Rather than jump in to the details, I’ll summarize the process first, then dive in and give you all the necessary detail. It’s actually very simple, just requires a little bit of explaining.
When I have a few minutes to work my MyPoints emails, I log into my Gmail account and navigate to the list of all the MyPoints emails I haven’t processed yet. I open up the first email, scroll down to the orange button that says Get Points and click. I then press the J key in GMail to go to the next unread email, scroll down again to the orange button that says Get Points and click, press J, and continue this process until all of the MyPoints emails have been processed.
If it’s a survey, I go ahead and open it, but don’t complete it yet. I finish processing all of the emails first, then go back later and do any surveys if I have time. If I skip surveys, I can do all of the 10 or so MyPoints emails in about a minute. That’s it. Told you it was simple. Yes, I hear you, “Wait, Wait, Wait. What is all of this about going directly to the MyPoints emails, pressing the what key?? Every time I click on the orange Get Points button it navigates me straight to the site.“.
With the overview out of the way, let’s jump into the details, get your questions answered, and show you how to set-up this whole process.
Use Gmail’s filtering capabilities
I’m an avid Gmail user and have been since shortly after it was released. Gmail is interesting, as on the surface it seems very simple, but Gmail literally full of powerful little features and capabilities. One of the features I really like is filtering. Filtering allows you to place one or more filters on incoming mail and have Gmail automatically do something with it. The something can be deleting it, archive it (skips your inbox), starring it, labeling it or whatever else.
I didn’t like the MyPoints emails cluttering up my inbox, so I set-up a filter to look for all emails coming from MyPoints. The filter both labels the email with a MyPoints label and archives it so I don’t see it in my main inbox.
When I’m ready to work my MyPoints emails, I open up Gmail and select the MyPoints label. Labels can be found in the left hand sidebar under the Labels section. This will cause Gmail to show all emails with the MyPoints label only.
Turn on Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts
Another “hidden” feature that Gmail provides is keyboard shortcuts. These are key presses you can enable that do various Gmail functions. To enable keyboard shortcuts, click on Settings up in the top right corner, choose “Keyboard Shortcuts On”, then scroll to the bottom and press Save Changes. Now navigate back to your inbox by clicking on Inbox in the left hand sidebar. You should now see a dark black greater than sign (>) next to the first item in your inbox. That little greater than sign is the key indicator that keyboard shortcuts are now turned on.
To see all of the various keyboard shortcuts, press the ? key. A transparent gray window will pop-up showing you a list of all the various keyboard short cuts available. Note, delete is missing. I’m not sure why, but it’s Shift-3 (or #).
Click on your first email using your mouse, or just press enter. The email that had the > symbol next to it is now shown. Neat huh? You can now press the J key to move to the next unread email or press the K key to go back one email. Using the J and K keys, you can quickly navigate through your email without ever removing your hands from the keyboard. If you use Google reader, the J and K keys should be all too familiar.
The use of the J key is the main technique in moving from one MyPoints email to the next quickly. I use the page down key to scroll down until I can see the orange Get Points button and then use the mouse to click. To process a MyPoints email, hit J to move to the next email, press page down once or twice, then click Get Points. Easy huh?
Now I’ll show you how to keep the MyPoints offer from displaying right away and hiding your email
Another internet tool I couldn’t live without is the Firefox browser. Firefox is a free open source browser that is far more powerful and faster than Internet Explorer. Firefox is completely extensible, and literally thousands of various plugins are available for it that will make it do pretty much anything you could ever want.
Firefox is also highly customizable, which leads me to how I keep the MyPoints advertiser page from displaying on top of your Gmail when you click on the orange Get Points button. What we’re going to do is force firefox to open links in a new tab, but in the background instead of the default foreground. Here’s how:
- Go up to the URL bar (also called the address bar) and type: about:config then press enter
- In the filter field displayed type: browser.tabs.loadD. Firefox should now only show you one setting called browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground
- Double click on browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground so that it’s value changes to true instead of false.
That’s it, you can now close that tab and continue browsing. Now whenever you click on a link, a new tab will be opened in the background containing the contents of that link. In other words, now when you press the orange Get Points button, it will open in another tab in the background and you’ll still see the email in the foreground you just clicked on.
At this point, I’ll assume your using Gmail and you’ve loaded Firefox. You’ve also set-up Gmail filtering, so the last few days worth of MyPoints emails are all organized up under a MyPoints label and in one location.
Again, click on the first email and begin the process of scrolling down to the orange Get Points button and click, press J, scroll, click Get Points, J, press scroll, click button, press J…etc.
Continue this process until all of the MyPoints emails have been worked. Again, if it’s a survey, go ahead and click to open the survey, but don’t do the survey yet.
Now, looking at your Firefox browser, you should have your Gmail in the foreground and few (or many) tabs which contain all of the MyPoints promotional websites and surveys. You have two options 1) Don’t look at them at all and just close them all or 2) Navigate to each tab, take a look at what they have to offer and then close the tab or do whatever else.
If I’m in a big hurry, I do option 1. Generally though, in order to promote what MyPoints is really for, I navigate to each tab and take a look at the offering. For option 1, just select the tab that you want to keep open (most likely your Gmail tab), right click on the tab with the mouse, and choose “Close Other Tabs”. This will close all of the tabs except the one you selected.
If you go with option 2, than as you review the site, just click the X on the tab to close it. You can also press Ctrl-W on the keyboard.
So there you have it. The exact way I work through my MyPoints emails quickly and easily. Don’t want to switch email accounts, but interested in using Gmail? No problem. Another really slick feature that Gmail has is the ability to act as an email client for other email accounts. You can find instructions on how to consolidate your emails to Gmail on Lifehacker.
Not sure about Firefox? Give it a try, you’ll love it. You can even make it look just like Internet Explorer 7 by installing the Vista-aero theme. Don’t like the way Firefox does something? Just do a quick Google serach, I can almost guarantee you that you will find a setting to make it do exactly what you want.
Don’t do MyPoints? Well, that’s easy too. Just sign-up! I’ve written about how much I like it before. We’ve received more than $100.00 in Target giftcards using MyPoints and eaten out at Olive Garden a few times. All for just reading a few emails.
Have any tips or tricks for reading through your MyPoints emails? Already use a similar process to mine, but maybe do something a bit different? Add a comment! If for any reason you are confused or can’t get it to work as I’ve described, please add a comment and I’ll help you out!