How many times per day do you check your Email?
It has been found out that an average person sends and receives 125 emails per day. Considering that, an office employee spends 13 hours per week only on emails, which is 28 percent of all the time they are at work.
Apart from this, nearly 80 percent check emails before going to the office and 45 percent – check their inbox while still in bed in the morning. Moreover, more than a quarter of people check emails while driving or commuting.
That is why I think there is no need to explain how important is to manage your email in a right way. There is a huge number of different behavioral techniques, apps and ways to make email management easier for all of us. If they exist, it does not mean that they work for everybody in the same way. Therefore, below I will focus only on the ones, that work personally for me.
The following three topics will be discussed further:
1) Optimizing tools (how to optimize your email to save time and structurize the content)
2) Optimizing habits (how to use your email more efficiently not to have hundreds of unread messages)
3) Optimizing communication (how to communicate via email most effectively and improve email ethics)
How to make your email easier to use, more functional and helpful?
1. Manage your subscriptions
Notifications from social networks, special offers, promotions and many other unwanted newsletters make it difficult to keep control of your email. Therefore, the first thing to do to save your email from overload is to manage all your subscriptions on a constant basis. A wonderful tool for this purpose – Unroll me – will save you a lot of time. It enables you not only to unsubscribe from all the junk, but also to form Rollups – combinations of your favorite subscriptions into only one beautiful daily digest email.
So many things can be done automatically and we should definitely take advantage of it. Start with email signature (for advanced users and business owners, Wisestamp is highly recommended), email templates, autoreply and creating groups of contacts.
3. Work faster
The easiest way to work faster is to use shortcuts. While everybody knows and uses key shortcuts for Microsoft tools, not many people use it for their emails. However, it saves an incredible amount of time and I am sure that it is worth learning the most important ones even though they are not the same for different email clients.
4. Write correctly
One of the best plugins ever that saves you from looking stupid because of typos and grammar mistakes is Grammarly. It helps you write the error free content anywhere on the web, may it be your new email, Facebook status update, comments or blog post.
All email clients enable you to create folders and put labels, which makes it much easier to find everything you need.
The first common way to structuralize your email is simply by topic (f.e. career, university, personal, student organization).
It also makes sense to give a certain order to all your categories (f.e. 01. Career; 01.01 Career – Job applications; 01.02 – Career events; 01.03 – Linked In). In this way, the categories will be fixed at the same place all the time and it will be faster for you to label them just by writing down the number instead of the tag by itself.
The second common way to structuralize your email is by action type (to do, in progress, done, reference). This will allow us to highlight the most important emails that we still have to work with and give your email some task management tool features.
If simple to-do, in progress, done folders are not enough for you and you would like to turn your email into a more complicated task management tool, there is an opportunity to do it with a help of Activeinbox.
If you use an incredible project management tool Trello or task management app like Todoist (if not – you should definitely start), Zapier can help you to integrate it with your email, so you can create Trello cards or to-do tasks right from the emails you receive.
7. Control timing
Sometimes time, when the email should be sent is critical. An easy tool Boomerang will help you to look super-organized: it can send emails for you in the scheduled time and date. Additionally, it can send reminders that will make a follow-up process so much easier.
8. Create project
If you are currently busy with a particular project (no matter if it is looking for a job, moving somewhere or managing relationships with customers/clients) and you have a lot of communication via email regarding it, you definitely should try using Streak.
First of all, Streak is a free CRM tool inside Gmail, which is especially valuable for business owners, because it lets you create projects for any business process from sales to employee recruitment.
However, Streak also can be used for any type of personal projects (from organizing a party and trip planning to searching for an apartment)
Secondly, Streak contains numerous email management features, such as tracking (it can notify you when an email of yours has been read, and even when, where and how many times it has been opened).
Also, Streak includes control timing features and automatic templates.
9. Do your homework
It is always useful to know who is the person with whom you are talking to, what is his/her background and where they are located. However, most of the time we are too busy to search for information about people, with whom we deal with, on the internet. Rapportive is a great way to solve this problem because it shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox, which helps you to find a personal approach to everyone.
10. Go offline
Another life-saving thing is a Gmail offline app, which supports offline access, allowing mail to be read, responded to, searched and archived without network access.
to be continued …
P.S. this list is far not all-inclusive, it will be updated on an ongoing basis.
If you know other interesting ways to optimize your email or you use other email management tools that you find helpful, I would be really interested in finding out more about it.
I hope that you have learned something new and you will try to apply one of these wonderful techniques to optimize your email management.
Next week the post will be focused on the techniques how to manage the workflow and optimize your email processing.
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