We’re so glad you’re joining us today for more life and business hacks. If you missed us last week, we looked at 3 helpful hacks for certification and training programs. Today we want to talk about something that many of us face on the daily...I know, you might not want to admit up to it, but…it’s email.
Okay, guilt aside.
Without a show of hands, we know some of you are addicted to checking your email almost once every hour (if not more) or you get stuck sorting through with what’s important and what’s not important.
Overall, you end up squandering time that you could have used more wisely, and that’s what we want to help you with in today’s post...hacking your email productivity. So without further ado, let's get to it!
1. Conquering the temptation to check email so frequently
It's like a fly on your nose that you feel compelled to swat at - you've got to check your email. Who knows? Susie's probably emailed you the details of this afternoon's meeting. Your favorite online store is probably going to run a pop-up promotion for a limited time.
The bottom line though is (in some cases) it can wait.
And it's as simple as setting your mind to a schedule when you'll check your email. Here's a sample schedule:
9:00am - Check your email after getting settled at the office
9:05am - 11:00am - Task 1 for the day
11:00am - 12:00pm - Start task 2 for the day
12:15pm - Check your email after going to lunch
12:30pm - 2:00pm - Pick up & finish task 2 for the day
2:00pm - 3:15pm - Start task 3 for the day
3:15pm - Check your email during a short break
3:20pm - 5:00pm - Finish up task 3 for the day
Of course the tasks in between checking your emails may vary depending on your role, but notice that with this schedule, you're only checking your email 3 times a day on the job - once at the beginning of the day, after going to lunch, and once more before the end of the day.
You could adjust this based on your role and routine as you may need to check your email more often depending upon your responsibilities.
There's also a nifty Chrome extension I've come across that you should try called Checker Plus for Gmail. As a very short list of what this extension can do, you can:
- Avoid opening a tab to check your email through Gmail
- Mark items as read or even delete them as they come in
- Set a "Do not disturb" time period
- Have a preview of your email read aloud to you
- Set sound notifications (if you want to, but this may be more distracting)
Here's a peek at what it looks like from my browser:
As you can see, you don't have to open up a tab to see your emails but can see them there. You can also mark them as read, delete them, or choose another action to take as you can see in the image below:
So yes, let's conquer that nudge to check, check, and check your inbox so frequently.
2. Retyping the same words over and over again...
Have you ever heard your parents say that they had begun to sound like a broken record? This was likely because they'd told you something more than once, but you weren't listening. Unlike that instance, however, when you come across similar cases or scenarios while emailing others, you'll begin to wonder how you can avoid retyping the same words over and over again.
I can recall a time when I would keep sticky notes on my computer screen to copy and paste messages, yet since we're talking about email, Gmail has this neat feature that allows you to take responses that you use often and be able to use those responses readily so that you don't have to keep desktop sticky notes or notes to copy and paste from.
Here's how to access the Canned Response feature:
- Go to Gmail
- Open up a new email to compose
- Type in the response that you would like to save and be able to re-use
- Click on the "More options" drop-down arrow next to the trash can "Discard draft" button
- Hover over "Canned responses" and under the "Save" heading, click "New canned response..."
- Choose a name for your response
Here's an example of what one looks like that I've created:
And now, you've saved a response that you can come back and insert into a new email simply by:
- Composing a new email
- Click on the "More options" drop-down arrow
- Under the "Insert" heading, click the response that you'd like to insert
And boom! No more retyping, repeating, and feeling like a broken record. And, you'll save yourself some time!
3. Wading through the flood of emails - Here's how to surf!
When you get to the office in the mornings, if you're dreading logging in and seeing the number of emails that have amassed since the previous day, then this tip is for you. You know you've got to sort through what's important for the moment and what's not, and here's how you can filter your emails to make this easier:
- Go to Gmail
- Click the Cogwheel button on the right and click on "Settings"
- Click on "Filters and Blocked Addresses"
- Click "Create a new filter"
- And you can choose how you want to filter out the emails you receive. Let's say you get emails almost everyday from a blog you've subscribed to - you can type in the email address for that blog
- Click "Create a filter with this search" in the bottom right
- From here, you can choose what happens to the emails you receive from this blog/organization/individual. If you want it to skip your inbox and automatically be archived, you can do that
- Once you've chosen what you want to happen to these emails, click the "Create Filter" button
And boom! You're on your way to creating a more organized inbox with less that you have to sort through manually so you can save more time. If you're a visual person, check out this video tutorial:
We hope these hacks can definitely help you cut down the time you spend on managing and writing emails. If you feel a bit of relief, give us a thumbs up or shout out in our comments section or on social - we love hearing from you!