Email productivity is one of the most challenging areas in any professional’s work life. There are several ways to make emails less distracting and more efficient.
Set aside time each day to check your email and sort it. This has been proven to increase email productivity.
1. Set yourself rules
When you receive an email, think about what action it requires. If the email is a question or a task that requires an immediate answer, respond immediately. If you don’t have time to reply immediately, consider moving the email into a folder and setting up a follow-up reminder. Keeping an unattended email open wastes mental energy and distracts you from your primary work tasks.
Creating email filters is a great way to regulate your inbox and automate certain tasks. You can create them with individual email apps or with email clients that have unified inbox features. Filters are based on a variety of factors, including subject lines, keywords and date ranges. They can help you avoid spam, prioritize important emails, and organize your inbox for a personalized workflow.
You will be more productive if you set clear rules regarding email. Instead of checking and responding to emails every time they arrive, try setting aside a block of Pomodoro (25-minute) cycles a day to process your emails. Once that time is up, close your inbox and focus on your main work tasks.
Triaging emails can help you to increase productivity. If you have an inbox with categories such as “Inbox”, To Do”, or “Someday”, it will help you prioritize your emails.
You can save a lot of work by using an email productivity program that offers tracking, automation and other features such as the convertion of emails to sheets. These tools can save you a lot of time by automating your responses, tracking the amount of time you spend on emails tasks, and providing keyboard shortcuts.
2. Create folders
Email is a great tool for managing business and private communications. Folders are a key component of any email system. They can help you accomplish more while saving time by searching through your inbox to find important emails.
Whether you’re working at home, in the office or on the road, creating folders will help keep your inbox neat and tidy. There are many ways to create email folders and use them. Find the system that suits your needs.
Consider creating a folder for each type of email that you receive. For example, you can set up folders for different projects or clients. If you work with clients regularly, creating a folder for each client can help you to stay organized and avoid duplicate or misplaced email.
A folder is a good idea for emails that require your action. This can include emails that need a response or anything else you need to do in the future, such as follow-ups. Creating this folder will prevent these emails from getting lost in your inbox and ensure that you don’t forget to respond to them.
You can also set up filters to automatically move emails into specific folders. This is a great way to capture receipts, or other information that you may need for an event coming up, or to filter unwanted emails out of your inbox. Make sure to use these folders regularly and not leave them empty. This will defeat the purpose of implementing an organization system.
3. Archive emails
Emails play a major role in the professional world and it is vital to manage them effectively. To achieve this, you should create a system of emails and use tools that will help you stay organized. By using email templates and canned replies, you can save time while improving efficiency. Email management tools such as Mailbutler automate certain tasks in order to optimize your email process.
While deleting unwanted messages may seem like an effective way to clean out your inbox, it can also be delete forever and leave you with no way of recovering a lost message or finding important information. Email archiving is a better alternative, as it allows you to keep important messages but removes them from your inbox so they are out of sight and out of mind.
Idealy, your inbox only contains emails that require immediate attention or response. For the rest, use folders and filters to categorize your emails based on their importance or urgency. Once an email no longer needs to be accessed, archive it. This will allow you to find it quickly in the future.
If you don’t want to delete an email but also don’t have the time to deal with it immediately, try putting it on hold. This will allow you the option to return to the email at a later date without it cluttering up your inbox. However, be sure to put a note in the email for the sender so that they know why you are not responding and when you will.
You can also set up automatic archiving of your folders to save you the trouble of doing it manually. You can customize your settings so that you get a prompt prior to auto archiving and can cancel it at any time.
4. Set aside time to read and respond to emails
The key to effective email management is managing your time rather than letting emails manage you. The best way to do this is to set aside specific times throughout the day to read and respond to emails. This will help you to focus on other tasks and ensure that your inbox doesn’t become a constant distraction.
Use filters and rules to move emails automatically into folders. These can be based upon different criteria such as keywords, the subject line, the size, and the date. You can also create subcategories to organize your emails and keep them searchable. This is especially helpful for separating emails related to different clients and projects.
Another good practice is to limit how long you spend on each email. Try to read and respond to emails in under a minute. This will help you avoid being distracted and wasting time. This will also help to prioritize your responses, so you can get things done quickly.
Unsubscribing from newsletters and advertising is also important. These emails can clog your inbox and hide important messages. In addition, using the “timeboxing” technique can be an effective way to handle your inbox. This method involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and working on your inbox until the timer expires. By focusing your attention on a small amount of time, it is possible to tackle your inbox.
5. Take immediate action
A cluttered inbox can feel like a hamster wheel–you’re constantly triaging unread messages, replying to questions that have been asked before, and circling back to follow up on emails you haven’t yet completed. This can cause you to lose focus on your bigger projects and erode your productivity. Email productivity apps help you break this cycle by minimizing distractions and automating tasks, so that you can spend more time on higher-level work.