You may get stressed out by email, overwhelmed even. Endless tasks, infinite newsletters, and spam galore. Increase Productivity With These Email Hacks.
Well, what if I told you that everything you’re doing when it comes to your inbox is wrong and that by following a few simple steps you could change everything, saving you hours each week?
Or you could just light your laptop on fire. So I realize this is not exactly the sexiest topic in the world to talk about.
Email can be a little bit boring, but I think it’s really important, and that’s the reason I’m making this Article because when it comes to your productivity, email can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
I wanna really get into the what and the why. So why am I setting up these systems? What does it really look like? Not so much the how.
You can figure out how with a couple quick Google searches, but I genuinely geek out about this stuff.
I love talking about the systems and the tactics and the nitty-gritty things that really help to make my life efficient and then save me a whole lot of stress, and most importantly, time. So let’s just get right into it.
First, I think it’s important to talk about how we typically use email. It can often be a source of distraction. We constantly check it multiple times every hour, and that repetitive checking can slow us down and pull us away from our work.
By choosing to batch emails once or twice a day, if your current work allows it, you’ll be able to quickly fly through emails and spend more time in the flow of work. In truth, this is an ideal that I don’t always live up to. I often find myself stuck in my inbox repeatedly checking over and over again throughout the day, and that’s okay, but when I do this, I definitely find myself being more productive more inflow.
One of the ways that I avoid my inbox and also help myself to move the needle on certain projects is to create a shortcut on Google Chrome. So this bookmark here is to compose an email.
When I click it, it will open a dialog that allows me to write an email message. The great thing about it is that I can skip my inbox and send important emails to get projects moving forward. So if you use Gmail, I’ve got a link in the description so you can just copy and paste that into your own bookmarks and it will work.
With everything in this Article and Article in the future, all of the references are gonna be in the description down below. So let’s get right into my actual email inbox. So this is usually what I see when I log in to Gmail. I’ll have 10 to 15 emails in my inbox, some of the new, a few of them have been read, but are tasks and things that I need to do in the future.
I often use email to manage tasks. A lot of times emails are very simple, quick responses, but sometimes they require 30 minutes, 60 minutes of work. I have to compress out and upload an Article that might take me hours. And so, sometimes I will take these tasks and put ’em on a to-do list. That’s really if I’m being OCD and I wanna get to inbox zero.
A lot times I’ll just leave ’em right in my inbox, and then, eventually over the coming days as I find time for it I will get to them. If it’s in my inbox, it will get done, it will get responded to. The trick is that I don’t let everything get into my inbox to begin with. I’ll talk about that in just a second, but first, I wanna cover some basics.
So I’ve enabled a feature called auto-advance, which means that when I delete, archive, or reply to a message it’s gonna automatically take me to the next email in line.
I also turned on this feature called to send and archive, so whenever I reply to an email, it will automatically archive it, removing it from my inbox. This way I can just quickly do a pass-through all my emails, cleaning up my inbox as I go. As you’ll see on the left-hand side of the screen I’ve created labels for different categories of email.
The search function in Gmail is really powerful, but it can only go so far. Creating and managing emails through labels can really help you find items and information from projects that occur over the course of months.
So every time I get an email related to our wedding I drag it into the wedding label. All receipts from my business go in the receipts label, and travel, itinerary, and tickets can be found under travel 2020 in the designated destination label.
This has saved me a lot of headaches during travel. I also have a label called subscriptions that are the newsletters that I subscribe to. So on that note, I am absolutely ruthless when it comes to unsubscribing from emails.
If I buy a sweater and somebody puts me on their newsletter without my permission, I get very upset, I will mark you as spam and I’ll unsubscribe. Get outta my inbox. That’s just one way that I’m able to keep my email clutter-free. Some of the labels like incoming, podcast, and newsletter are how I organize all my unique email addresses.
I have multiple email addresses, and all of the filter into one of these labels. Incoming is my email address for people who reach out to me via the contact page on my website. The newsletter is another unique email that I have set up for my newsletter.
The podcast is the email address that I use for all of my podcast-related activities. All of these email addresses help me to keep track of incoming opportunities so I don’t miss anything and reply to people who wanna get in touch with me.
The most important step I’ve taken to keep all of this organized is to create filters for each of these email addresses so they automatically skip my inbox and go directly into one of these designated labels. This is an automated system. You set it up once, and now, all your emails automatically filter into a specific label.
This is an absolute game-changer, and it has saved me so much time, and also, get me to be really clear on what emails I’m checking and what mindset I’m in when I’m checking them. In addition to setting up filters for my different email addresses, I’ve also created one for the newsletters I subscribe to.
So all of these newsletters automatically filter into my subscription label. So one thing that I started to do just a couple months ago is whenever a receipt comes into my inbox and it’s something, a place that I know I’m gonna be purchasing from again for business, say it’s a coffee shop, it’s a place where I get cameras from, it’s an Amazon purchase, I wanna make sure that automatically filters into my receipts.
To do that, I just take the email address that it came from, and then, I put it on that filter. And then, I can just continue to add as many email addresses as I want to that specific filter sending everything to receipts. That’s a tip that I got from Thomas Frank, so thank you much sir, thank you, my sir. Let’s talk about templates.
If you find yourself constantly writing the same email over and over and over again you can use templates to save you hours of drafting the same exact message. I’ve created a few template responses to commonly asked questions that I get. Sometimes I’ll tweak and customize them, but even having a starting point of a response saves me a ton of time.
Let’s look at some examples. If someone didn’t get my newsletter, this happens pretty often, it’s usually in their spam folder, so I have a reply for that. Back when we released our documentary “Minimalism” I would get screening requests every week.
This template definitely saved me a bunch of time. So to finish up here, there are two more features that I wanna talk about that have really helped me a lot. This used to be an extra plugin, an extra app that you had to use to install into Gmail, but now it’s built natively in, so it certainly saves me a lot of time.
The first one is called snooze. So I can use the snooze button to remove something from my inbox for a period of time, say until I can get to the request next week, or it can be used to remind me of when someone doesn’t respond to my email, which again, is hugely helpful so I don’t need to keep track of all of the communications that went unreplied to.
You can also now schedule emails with Gmail, which is something that I used to do a lot when I was younger, I would procrastinate on projects.
There would be those nights when I’d be up until 3 AM the day before a project was due, and I didn’t want to look like a total piece a crap by sending my client this email at 3 or 4 AM when I finished up so I would simply just schedule it for the morning at 8 or 9 AM, and now I don’t look like a dead shit, I look like somebody who’s got my shit together.
So that works out really well. I don’t do that much anymore. I’ve kind of got things together at this point so I don’t procrastinate as much
Instead of sending the email one month before the Articlegoes live or having to remember or set a reminder to do it I can craft the email, schedule it, post all the media files, and then, send it to them a few days before it goes live. Super convenient.
That is it. That’s the end of this Article. I really appreciate you sticking around and taking an interest in email
I hope this was an interesting article. I was afraid to make this article. I was like, I can’t really make an article about email, Can I? I should, I must, have to. Did it. Thanks for reading it. If you want more articles from me, stay notified with me, make your profile with us I’ve been making a lot of articles.