The Huffington Post reports US workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking emails, with 3.2 hours devoted to work emails and 3.1 hours to personal messages.
That’s A LOT of time. If you’re spending that amount of time in your inbox, when do you get your actual work done… let alone time for your family, friends and fun?
As a busy person, your email inbox is notorious for interruptions, distractions and procrastination.
While email can empower you to get more done, it can also be a colossal waste of time.
Your email client, whether it’s Gmail or Outlook, has three powerful features to help you take back control of your inbox. When you use these three email power moves, you will approach your inbox proactively, use your time more efficiently and spend your energy more productively.
1. Use email templates
Write a set of pre-determined responses to common questions or inquiries. Save these as templates that you can drop into emails quickly. You are then able to send these off without spending the time composing the same information every time.
Look for your template feature as “Signatures” in Outlook and “Canned Responses” in Gmail when composing a new message.
2. Schedule Send
Setting boundaries with your time is key to heightened productivity levels. The practice of responding or sending emails before or after work hours tells the world you’re available 24/7. It also gives the impression the recipient should respond as well, which just perpetuates the email overwhelm cycle.
Instead, use the “Delay Send” feature in Outlook or Boomerang in Gmail. That way you can write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at a more appropriate time.
3. Filter low value emails
Transform your email client into an armed guard for your inbox, allowing access only to the most important messages that require your immediate attention. When you set up filters and rules you specify which emails you want to bypass your inbox and where you would like them to go (i.e. another folder or straight to delete). They are easy to set up in either Outlook or Gmail and will keep non-essential email out of your inbox forever.
Doing these three power moves will enable you to take back control of your inbox and ensure only the high value emails that need your attention and input get through. All others you’ll deal with at a time that’s convenient to you.