How to Get Stuff Done by Managing Your Overflowing Inbox

Is your email inbox out of control?

Studies have shown that on average, people receive 110 emails a day and double that in the office. As someone who has been working online for over 10 years, I know that emails are a big productivity drainer.

Over the years, I have tried and implemented numerous techniques to help me be in control of my inbox. Educating my team on how to properly communicate has significantly improved the productivity of the company as a whole. Here are some tips on how to get stuff done by managing your overflowing inbox.

Tools (Gmail Only)

Email
1. Start using Filters and Labels
Email inbox can get crazy really fast. This is why it is important to organize it by using filters. This allows me to sort my emails and prioritize accordingly.

2. Canned Responses
If you are like me and find yourself typing the same reply every time someone emails you a common question, then you would love Canned Responses. This Gmail app allows you to use pre-written messages, so you can avoid the copy/paste or rewriting the same email.

Furthermore, it works very nicely with the filters. So you can even use the canned responses as auto-replies to specific messages. I love this feature.

3. Boomerang
I love the ability to schedule my shares on social media. Boomerang does that for email. You can schedule an email to be sent later. It also allows you to send automatic reminders. This way you can say “schedule this message” if I don’t hear back in X days.

Productivity Ninja Mindset

Lego Ninja
While the tools are helpful, I think it is very important that you change your mindset when it comes to email. Here are some tips that I recommend:

1. Not Every Email Needs a Reply
Ask yourself the question, is this email important. If it is not, then most likely then not it does not need a reply (at least not right away). I get tons of pitches and spammy SEO guest writer submissions. Those usually end up in the trash box right away. Other emails that does not need a reply right away, go under the label: Need Reply.

2. Be Clear and Concise
I hate long emails because they take way too long to read. Make your emails clear and concise. Make sure to address the important key points to avoid the unnecessary back and forth.

3. Not everything should be discussed via Email
If something can be discussed faster via other communication method (i.e Skype, Phone Call, Google Hangout), then do that. Nothing is worse then having to read a long email thread with inline-replies. If you are giving feedback on something very specific? Why not just take a quick screenshot or even record a quick screencast. It just makes things a whole lot faster.

4. Turn off Email Notifications
Do you have email notifications on your phone or computer? Turn those off. There is nothing more distracting then something sliding up or making noise about a new email. Working in focused batches will help you be more productive.

5. Reply to Emails in Time Blocks
Extending on to my point of working in focused batches, set time aside for replying to emails. Then use Boomerang to schedule your emails to go out through out the day, so you don’t receive replies right away.

I hope you find these tips and tools helpful in managing your overflowing inbox. Do you have any suggestions on how to improve email management? Share it with everyone by leaving a comment below.

Image Source: Lego Ninja

Comments

  1. Lain says

    I found that most of the saved messages in my inbox were things I was hoping to read- newsletters, articles, etc. I started a “to read” file where I send stuff now. Then I read it in big blocks of time, like at the airport. It’s cleaned out my inbox and also made me more aware of how many lists I’m subbed to.

  2. Alison says

    Boomerang is awesome!!! I too delete a lot of emails right off the bat because I don’t have time for it. Though I do keep some that I want to reply too… but then it comes a month later and they are still there so then I just end up deleting them anyways.

  3. Adnan Shahid says

    Dear Bro Really nice tips you shared. This will really help me a lot to combat such problem. Thanks for sharing Such valuable words with us.

  4. Paul says

    I have got so addicted to the mailbox app on iOS that I prefer it over the desktop version most of the times. Lately I have found the tabbed version pretty helpful as it perfectly(Except a couple important being thrown in Promotions tab) distributes the emails to their respective tabs.