Life relies on communication, and nothing gets done without it. Email is a kind of communication designed to make your life simpler. Instead of having to compose a letter or call or meet someone, you can just type a few lines and be done with it.
However, email may be a huge time drain. This usually occurs when it is utilized incorrectly. Many individuals send you emails that you don’t need, with subject lines that don’t accurately represent the content, and in far too many words. But it might also be your responsibility, for example, if you don’t properly handle emails or use your inbox as a To Do or reading list. The truth is that you can go through your emails quicker if you improve your habits and strictly follow a few essential email efficiency recommendations.
Schedule Email Time
If you hate responding to emails or spend far too much time emptying your inbox, consider committing to a routine. Some folks propose doing emails twice a day at a specified time. Scheduling time is sensible since it provides a time frame and mental space to focus on completing the activity. Furthermore, you will discover how much time you really spend on emails.
Emailing simply twice a day does not work for everyone. Allow yourself a few minutes per hour, in addition to checking and processing emails in the morning and evening, if you need to remain on top of things and check your emails multiple times during the day. Those brief email sprints provide you chance to react to urgent emails or to an email for which you initially required to gather information.
The idea is to…
- Schedule email time to establish a time limit.
- having the desire to remain inside that boundary,
- become quicker, and
- You should progressively free up time on your calendar.
This approach allows you to concentrate and become more efficient. When you combine it with the other email efficiency strategies in this post, you’ll be zipping through your emails like never before.
Process Each Email You Open
Every email you open demands you to take action in some manner. You’ll save time since you won’t have to deal with that email again. You will also empty your email at least once every day, which will feel liberated.
If feasible, act promptly on each email you open, or plan a task if required, before archiving or deleting the email. Acting swiftly might involve responding quickly, making a short phone call, adding dates to your calendar, adding items to your To Do list, filing emails or other information to read later. When you are unable to answer or act quickly, prepare a response and schedule a task to handle whatever needs to be done. In any event, clear your inbox of all emails.
It’s worth noting that each email in Gmail has its own URL. Don’t use it to save your emails! Rather, include a link to the relevant item to your To Do list or calendar entry. It’s much superior than keeping track of the emails in your inbox.
To make the most of your time…
- act on every email you open,
- add items and deadlines to your To Do list or calendar and
- add email addresses for future reference,
- If at all feasible, answer promptly.
- draft a response if needed,
- Every email you opened should be archived or deleted, and
- Once a day, go through the Drafts folder and Task list.
Filter & Label Emails
Many individuals store emails in their inboxes because they don’t know of a better method to organize them. It leads to clutter and, over time, makes it more difficult to locate items. Using Gmail’s advanced search tool, you may quickly locate any email. If you must retain emails in your inbox, you may label them to make them easier to discover or organize them into folders to access them later.
Instead of manually sorting emails, you may set up filters to automatically handle emails you get on a regular basis, such as alerts, subscriptions, digests, and emails from certain persons. Rather of creating a new filter for each unique source, build an email alias for kinds of emails (for example, forum notices or newsletter subscriptions) and filter emails depending on the email address they are delivered to. By moving such emails to their own folder, they will never overload your inbox, you will not spend time processing them, and you will still be able to read them whenever you have time.
The best way to manage your emails is to…
- discover how to search your email,
- label and
- sort emails,
- Ideally, if feasible, using automated filtering, and
- Allow them to skip your inbox if you never need to deal with them right away.
Reduce Incoming Email
As you begin to empty your inbox on a regular basis, you will become aware of which emails you no longer need. Instead of creating filters for emails you don’t want to receive or won’t have time to read, take action. This may involve unsubscribing from a newsletter you never read, asking a buddy to stop forwarding you cartoons, or asking a coworker to only CC you on critical emails.
In brief, address unwanted emails, unsubscribe vigorously, and, if necessary, filter to the trash.
Set An Example: Keep Your Own Emails Clear & Brief
An complex email takes time to write. And reading and processing it takes time. Learn to make your emails clear and short to save yourself and others time.
This begins with a strong topic line. Make certain that it accurately represents the content of your email. This is made simpler if you keep each email to a single topic. Finally, make your email as succinct as possible. I wouldn’t advocate a one-sentence rule, but daily business emails should be succinct. Before you submit, think about it and distill the core of what you want to say.
Your recipients will love your emails if they contain…
- a clear subject line,
- one subject per email,
- essential principles presented succinctly in
- no more than 1-5 sentences.
Use Canned Responses
If you get a lot of emails that all demand the same answer, make a template and set up a scripted response. This may save a lot of time and is quite simple to do using Gmail. We have a whole post devoted to emailing faster and better using canned responses.
Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Most email clients have keyboard shortcuts. For example, in Gmail, there are shortcuts for answering (a), deleting (SHIFT + 3), and archiving an email (a).We’ve put up a PDF overview of handy Gmail Shortcuts. Please keep in mind that you may need to activate keyboard shortcuts. Spend a few minutes learning keyboard shortcuts for your preferred email client, and you’ll be processing emails considerably quicker every day.
Here are some additional email efficiency suggestions to help you make better use of email.
Email is a tool for communication, not for controlling your life. Be clear about what you want to accomplish with this communication tool, how you want to spend your time, and automate or remove everything that gets in the way of efficiently processing your email. Clearing your inbox does not have to take a long time if done correctly. And, after you’ve established a decent pattern, you won’t be concerned about not checking your emails for a few hours or a day while you focus on other vital tasks. You’ll know your regimen will allow you to quickly go through a crowded inbox.
Do you have any email processing tips that I have missed?
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