7 Easy Email Hacks to Take Back Your Time
Small habits can make quite a difference in the long run, preventing you from wasting valuable time on emails. Find out how to improve this now 👇.
Did you know that the average person receives around 100 emails per day?
As a busy professional, you know how daunting it can be to hear your computer constantly pinging and announcing new messages drop into your inbox.
Whether you struggle to respond to emails promptly or spend so much time replying to them that you neglect other tasks, we’re here to help you revamp your approach to email.
So how can you save time with your email? We’ll give you our hacks! 😉
1. Don’t Use Email for Everything
Does the idea of “inbox zero” sound impossible to you? Does it feel like emails come in faster than you can open, read, and delete them?
Your inbox might be overflowing because you use email as an**** all-in-one tool.
Perhaps you use it to keep track of tasks and to-do lists, send project updates, schedule appointments, and distribute documents.
When you use email for everything, you will end up with hundreds of messages in your inbox. Not only is this overwhelming, but it’s also not a great organization or team management strategy.
You’re better off using different tools for different needs. 🧰
For instance, use a task management app to manage to-do lists and assign tasks, a project management software to set goals and monitor progress, and a calendar app to schedule appointments.
We have some great tips on that here: Top 10 Apps for Project Managers in 2022
2. Turn Off Notifications
It’s hard to ignore that all-too-familiar pinging sound that tells us we have received a new email.
Sure, that ping might just be a coupon for 15% off a purchase from your favorite boutique. But it could also be a message from your boss letting you know what they thought of your latest report.
The only way to know is to stop what you’re doing and check.
It might not be a big deal if you only run into this problem once or twice a day. Remember, though, that the average person receives over a hundred daily messages.
🤔 That’s a lot of time wasted jumping to your email to see if the message you just got was important.
To avoid wasting time on excessive email checking:
Turn off email notifications on your computer and phone; and
Schedule blocks of time each day to dedicate to checking your emails.
This will help you improve your concentration, and reduce FOMO anxiety altogether.
3. Follow the Two-Minute Rule for Responses
Some people struggle to stay focused and waste time checking emails.
On the flip side, others have trouble making time for reading and responding to emails. They let messages go unanswered for hours, days, or even weeks.
If you fall into the latter, consider following the two-minute rule during blocks of time set aside for emails.
⏰ The two-minute rule states that if it takes two minutes or less to respond to a message, you should do it.
Consider the type of emails you’ve recently received. How many of those required detailed responses?
A lot of them probably just needed a simple “yes,” “no,” or “check with my assistant”.
Following the two-minute rule helps you clear these messages out of your inbox as efficiently as possible. It also lets you stay in touch with your colleagues and clients, and ensures no one gets left hanging.
4. Create a Junk Email Address
Many of your emails need no response at all because they’re junk — coupons, sales pitches, requests for money from Nigerian princes and so on...
If you’re regularly bombarded with junk email, try creating a secondary “junk” email address.
🗑️* Use that alternative address when signing up for forums, websites, or newsletters that you may or may not read*.
Setting up a separate email address helps you in keeping your inbox uncluttered. It also reduces the chance that you might miss important messages because they got buried by junk.
Intermission: Search Emails with Curiosity ✨
How much time do you waste daily scrolling through your inbox, trying to find a message you forgot to reply to, or that contains a file or a critical piece of information?
The right search tool can help you find what you need faster and maximize your productivity with less effort.
You can integrate Curiosity with different day-to-day tools such as Outlook, Gmail, PureCloud, Slack, calendars, cloud drives, Teams, Notion, Twitter — the list goes on.
Curiosity can search through various types of files as well, like PDFs, images, and videos. It also comes with commands to perform actions easier on your device.
Use it for free on Windows and Mac — and test the unlimited Pro plan on the app.
5. Use Email Filters
Filters are your friends! No, not the Instagram filters that erase the bags under your eyes. We’re talking about email filters.
If someone tells you they rarely or never get overwhelmed by email, they likely use filters to help them stay organized.
🗂️* Filters are customized rules you create for your email inbox to sort your messages*.
For example, you could create a filter that automatically flags messages from your most important clients. Or one that immediately files emails from certain team members in a specific folder.
True, setting up filters can be time-consuming.
However, when you make it a habit, you can save yourself a lot of time in the future, stay organized, and find important messages faster.
6. Send Fewer Emails
Sometimes the best way not to receive lots of emails (and have less messages to deal with daily) is to actually send fewer emails.
If you have a habit of firing off an email for every thought that pops into your head, it might be time to reevaluate your approach.
Before sending an email, ask yourself if you really need to send it. 👀
Can you use a different tool to communicate with this person?
Can you — gasp — get up from your desk and talk to them face-to-face?
Resist the urge to reply to emails that don’t directly concern you, too.
If you get CC’d on a message, for instance, you might be able to get away with just reading the information, putting it in the relevant folder, and moving on.
7. Unsubscribe Often
You look at your inbox, sigh, and say something like, “Why do they keep emailing me? Their messages don’t suit me anymore”. Then, you just delete the email. Can you relate to this scenario?
You’re not solving the problem if you’re just deleting messages from irrelevant senders. They can still contact you.
In contrast, if you regularly unsubscribe from these senders, you reduce the number of unimportant emails that end up in your inbox. 🧐
If you catch yourself repeatedly deleting messages from a sender without opening them, ask yourself if you shouldn’t just unsubscribe instead.
As new habits may take some time to change, it should be worth giving one (or more) of these easy hacks a try today.
You’ll shortly be seeing how fast they can revolutionize your email strategy. 🔥
And don’t forget to try out productivity technologies as well — such as Curiosity — to streamline your email searches and help you find important information almost instantly.
Do you have another email approach that we didn’t mention? Share it with us below in the comments!
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