The digital age has changed many things about the way we work and live, but nothing stands out more than the way it’s changed our email habits. Today, most people have at least two email accounts: one personal, one business. And even if you’re lucky enough to be able to shut off your phone when you head home after a long day at work or school, there’s no escaping your inbox. With so many messages coming in every day, how can we make sure that our emails aren’t keeping us from living life or doing our jobs efficiently?
Use a great email app.
Email apps can be the difference between a thriving, productive email strategy and one that falls apart at the seams.
So why do so many people overlook this? I think it’s because they think of email apps as simple-minded inboxes—a place where you check and respond to messages, but nothing more. But that’s just not right! Email apps are more than just an inbox; they’re also a place for managing your work and personal life, as well as helping you plan out your day with calendar features that help keep you organized across all your communication channels. And when it comes down to it, email is the most important tool in keeping our productivity moving forward throughout each day.
Check your email at specific times.
Set aside specific times of the day, week, month, or year for checking your email. Checking email is a ritual for many people and it’s good to have these rituals so you don’t feel like you need to check all the time.
This schedule can be adjusted as needed but it’s important to keep it consistent because this helps reduce stress and anxiety about not being able to answer every message immediately.
Respond quickly—or not at all.
The most important rule to remember when it comes to email is that the longer you wait to respond, the more likely you are to receive another message from your recipient. Avoid this by replying within 24 hours. Even if you don’t have anything substantial to say, send a quick “I’ve received your email and will get back to you soon” or “I am working on this now.” It’s better than nothing—and it doesn’t hurt your chances of getting in touch again later on.
If replying quickly isn’t an option, let people know why they’re waiting. Don’t worry: Only do this if there is no way around a delay! If possible, offer a timeframe for when you will get back in touch (e.g., “I’ll get back with you within two weeks”). This way, everyone knows what’s going on and there won’t be any unnecessary follow-up messages sent out by either party down the line.
If neither replying quickly nor letting someone know about delays is possible (or even desirable), tell them who else might be able to help instead of leaving them hanging indefinitely—and then make sure those people actually follow through!
Send fewer emails.
There are lots of ways to reduce the number of emails you send. If you can, try to automate your emails wherever possible—from sending confirmation messages for events to letting people know about new content on your website.
If you do need to send an email, try to keep it short and sweet. Keep the message focused on one point or task, and only include information that’s relevant for completing that task (e.g., don’t detail every step in a complicated process if only one step is needed).
Try using templates as much as possible—they’re easier for everyone involved! But remember: templates aren’t always appropriate for every situation. The best practice is always double-check before sending anything out with attachments or links attached so there are no surprises later down the road when someone needs access again but can’t find what they’re looking for due to unexpected changes made by others who used it before them without understanding why those changes were necessary in first place…
Cut out the clutter.
The first step to achieving a clutter-free inbox? Cut out the clutter.
Get rid of all the junk mail, newsletters and other emails that you don’t need to look at. Use an email filter so these messages get sent directly into a folder you can check once a week—or just delete them outright. If there’s an important newsletter from your bank or credit card company, set up different rules for those specific messages only so they don’t get mixed in with everything else (and then remember to read them!).
Use a strong subject line.
The subject line of an email is one of the first things that a recipient sees. It should quickly let them know what you want from them and whether they should open your message or simply delete it. The subject line has to be short enough to fit on most screen sizes and it cannot have any special characters such as exclamation marks, because those might get stripped out when the message travels through email servers.
- Be concise: Your message should be clear and easy to read in just a few words; don’t try to cram too much information into the subject line
- Keep it relevant: Your recipient shouldn’t have to guess what you’re asking for or why they need to respond
- Don’t use all caps: Using all caps is considered yelling in written communications, so avoid this technique altogether
Keep email attachments out of your inbox.
If your email inbox is overflowing with attachments, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that more than half of all emails contain at least one attachment.
There are times when attachments are more than welcome—for example, if you’re collaborating on a project with colleagues or discussing an invoice for one of your clients with them. However, many businesses struggle to keep their inboxes clear because they have no way to quickly manage large files without downloading and opening them in another program (which means more time spent on the computer).
So what can we do? The best way to stay organized is by keeping your inbox as empty as possible while still being able to access any important information when needed. Here are five solutions:
Focus on just one thing at once.
It’s tempting to start your email campaign by attacking all the things you want to accomplish with it. You may have a list of goals and tasks that you want to get done, but focus on just one thing at a time. Don’t try to multitask or do too many things at once. It will only take longer for you to reach your goal, and your team might get confused about what their responsibilities are in the process.
One of the best ways to save time is to use templates. Templates are a great way to create a consistent and professional email signature, or even an entire email newsletter. If you have people in your organization that send out the same message over and over again, creating a template will save them time and energy. You can also add information like meeting notes or instructions on how to take action on something that was discussed in a meeting, creating templates for those emails as well.
Start with actionable items and save the rest for later.
- Don’t worry about the unread emails.
- Don’t worry about the emails that you can’t do anything about.
- Don’t worry about the emails that don’t require a response (unless you want to write back, in which case feel free).
- Don’t worry about the emails that don’t require any action on your part and therefore don’t need your time or attention right now.
Good email management will help you streamline your inbox, but it will also help you manage your time more efficiently and focus on what matters most in life.
Email management is an important skill to learn as part of your life. It can help you focus on what matters most in life, manage your time more efficiently, and streamline your inbox.
Email management will be a great skill to have if you want to:
- Focus on what matters most in life
- Manage your time more efficiently
- Streamline your inbox
We hope that these tips have given you some ideas for how to manage your inbox and make it work for you. If you’re looking for more help, check out our full guide on email management here!