How to Turn Chat On and Off
Go to the gear, and navigate to mail settings. Once in settings, select the chat tab.
Here, you will find two radio buttons with the ability to turn chat off and on. In order to turn chat off, simply select the radio button next to 'turn chat off'.
After you select 'chat off' be sure to save the changes. Chat will no longer be available in GMail. If at a later time you wish to turn chat back on, simply navigate back into settings and select 'chat on'.
Set Yourself as Invisible
For those of you who wish to be away from chat but do not want to turn chat off, remember that you can always go invisible in chat.
Hit the drop down next to your display name in chat, and select invisible. This will show others users that you are not online and gives you the freedom of working within GMail but not being visible in chat. You will still have the ability to send chat messages to others that are signed into chat but will not be shown as online. Don't forget, when you are ready to chat, make yourself available again.
Will you be turning off Google Chat in your Gmail account? Let us know in the comments section below!