Working in the 21st Century means reading, sending, and replying to emails – there’s no way around it. If you could reduce the time you spend each day worrying about emails, you’d have more time to spend working on more important parts of your business.
If you’re spending more than 20 minutes a day reading and replying to emails, consider our time-saving methods to reduce how often you check your inbox.
Minimize Your Inbox
Many people receive hundreds of emails each day because they are signed up for newsletters, coupons, and catalogues. Unenroll from every newsletter and notification list which isn’t essential to your business – if you must stay connected to these services, create a special personal email to use for them. Don’t send non-business related email to your main account – it will only serve as clutter.
Receive All Emails in One Inbox
Forward all business related emails from your various accounts to your main business account. Save your personal accounts for newsletter and catalogues, don’t waste time checking various inboxes to keep track of your business emails.
Delete Unimportant Emails From Your Business Account
Your inbox should only contain important emails. Use a service like Mailstrom to batch remove hundreds or thousands of unimportant emails from your account. Move your important emails to a special folder and remove future unimportant emails as you receive them.
Disable Multiple Inboxes
Some email services offer specialized inboxes to organize your emails, but they’ll only serve to slow you down as your check your email. Disable multiple inboxes to streamline your incoming mail.
Turn off Chat Features and Email Notifications
Email services like Gmail offer built-in chat features, which can be useful for workers communicating across the office. Chat features are meant to boost productivity but they’ll only serve as a distraction if you’re trying reduce the time you spend perusing your Inbox. Turn off your email’s chat function to reduce distractions.
If you receive desktop notifications from your inbox, turn them off. Emails may tempt you to stop what you are doing and immediately respond, but this will only serve to interrupt you. Turn off email notifications and only check your email when you absolutely have time.
Implement Downstream Systems to Get Organized
Almost every important email you receive can be categorized into one or more downstream systems:
Calendar: Meetings, deadlines, and travel dates can be stored in your calendar to reduce your need to re-check your emails. Enter these events into your calendar app and sync your calendar across all of your devices.
Task Manager: Enter anything you need to do into your task manager (and also sync this across all devices). When your to-do’s are in your task manager, you won’t have to refer back to your emails to see what needs to be done.
Reference App: Use a reference app like Evernote to store non-actionable downloads you’ll need to refer to in the future, such as contracts or other documents.
Read Later App: Use a Read Later App on your devices to save content you need to read, but don’t need to read right away.
Use Keyboard Shortcuts to Save Time
You can save several seconds every time you write, read, or reply to an email by using keyboard shortcuts. Your choice of email provider and app will determine what your keyboard shortcuts are, but most will use commands like “C” for compose and “Cntrl + Enter” to send an email.
By following the tips above, you can reduce the number of emails in your business inbox and spend significantly less time each day checking and perusing your emails. Saving a few minutes each day will end up, allowing you to be more productive and focus on other vital areas of your business.
How have your streamlined your inbox? How much time do you spend checking your email each day? Let us know in the comments below!