Essential Tips On How to Manage Work Emails Without Losing Productivity
Did you know that an average professional receives close to 121 emails a day? Now if this is the number of emails an average professional receives, what about your work email? Hundreds of emails, right?
So how do you manage your work email with the huge number of emails coming to your inbox every day?
Chances are that you spend almost an hour or even half a day managing your work email. But look, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In this article, we are going to share with you some essential tips on how to manage work emails.
Designate Time to Process Your Mail Each Day
Here is the thing:
Your work email is perhaps the busiest mail you deal with every day. This means you have to check your mail multiple times daily.
However, while you will need to throw your eyes to see the latest email in your inbox, you should designate time to process emails received every day. If you decide to process your emails as soon as they come into your inbox, you will spend more time in your mail than at work.
The best thing to do is to decide whether to process your mail as soon you get into your office or before you leave the office.
And as you set aside time to process your emails, make sure you deal with the most important emails first. The idea is to avoid spending too much time managing your work email and less time doing what you are supposed to accomplish for the day.
Delete Unimportant Emails
Truth be told, not all emails you receive are worth reading or opening. Once you open your email, check the subject line or the sender.
If it’s a promotional email, a friend inviting you to a party that you don’t have the time to attend to or just junk mail, just hit the DELETE button.
You can simplify things by selecting all the unimportant or irrelevant emails and deleting them at once. Once you empty unimportant emails from your inbox, you will be able to see the important ones much faster.
Also, if there are emails that have been in your inbox for a long time, chances are that even the sender has forgotten that they sent you an email, just delete.
And if you notice an unfamiliar email, report it as spam. You can also archive emails which you think you will need later.
Understand that Not All Emails You Receive are Worth Your Replies
Look, some emails you receive aren’t worth your time to reply to. In fact, not replying to an email is a reply. They say “silence is an answer” and it applies here as well.
Just imagine how many emails you receive in your work email and the time it would take you to reply to each one. That would mean every day goes wasted because even though some of the emails you receive are about work, you still have other things to do.
Besides, if you decide to reply to every email, you will end up drained out by the end of the day.
Just don’t stress yourself and stop spending too much time replying to every email you receive. Choose those that need your reply and ignore the rest. After all, if someone really needs your reply, they will follow up. If not, why bother yourself too much?
Group Your Emails into Labels, Folders, and Categories
If you are using Gmail, you can group your emails into folders and labels. The same way applies if you are using Outlook.
At the left sidebar menu in your inbox, there is an option to “create a new label”. Every label you create forms a folder where you can group your emails. Name the folder according to the content of the email so that the next time you want to retrieve the email, you don’t scratch your head trying to figure out where you sent it to.
Gmail even allows you to give your labels different colors.
Create a Reply by “Specific Date” Folder
If you have emails that you must reply to, then you can group them into a reply by “specific date” folder. The specific date is the date when you will have the time to reply to the emails or the time when the sender needs your replies.
You could designate around two days or three to reply to emails. This will relieve you from the stress of replying to every email you receive as soon as it gets into your inbox.
Read Worthy Emails
As mentioned earlier, not all emails in your inbox are worth reading. Some are for promotional purposes and some are just junk. If you decide to open every email and read it, then you will waste a lot of time you could have used to do other productive things.
Just read what’s relevant at the moment and archive what you think is relevant but not at the moment.
Apply the 1-Minute Rule
Some emails don’t take more than 1 minute to reply to. Just reply to these emails immediately to avoid letting them sit in your inbox for so long. The more they pile up, the more you will spend time replying to them.
Just make sure you don’t take more than one minute replying to such emails. This way, you will clear the huge batch of emails faster.
Limit the Time You Spend in Your Mail Inbox
Aside from following the 1-minute rule when replying to emails, you also need to limit the time you spend in your mail inbox.
First of all, gauge yourself to know the time you spend reading an email and replying to it. Once you know this, try to find how you can reduce the time spent as much as you can.
Well, some emails you receive are way too long, but you can just scan through and then process them within a short time.
If you are required to reply to such emails, follow the 1-minute rule and archive it if you are planning to reply later.
Ideally, you want to minimize the time you spent in your mail inbox as much as you can.
Designate Time to Declutter Your Inbox
You must have set time for general cleaning at your house where you stop everything you are doing and get to cleaning work. The same applies to your work email.
The good thing about your work email is that you don’t have to spend the whole day doing it. Cleaning your inbox can take a few minutes but you must set aside time for it. Otherwise, you may not get the time to do it.
Turn off Email Notifications
Understandably, you don’t want to miss that important reply from a client or business associate. However, a study has shown that once you have been disrupted by an email notification, you can take about 23 minutes to get your mind back to the task you were working on. Just imagine how much time you can waste if you get hundreds of notifications every day.
Invest In Email Management Tools
Inbox clutter can be demotivating and can ruin your productivity. Besides, as you work on limiting the time you spend in your inbox, you also need to avoid affecting your communication with clients, business associates, co-workers, etc.
The good thing is that there are effective email management tools out there. You can use them to take out the hectic work out of your hands.
Here are a few of the best email management tools we can recommend:
Similar to the Mailbox’s snooze feature, Boomerang is a powerful tool that will help you write good emails, schedule meetings with a single email, schedule emails to be sent later, get notified when emails you sent have been read or not so that you can send follow-ups.
The good thing is that you can download Boomerang on your Android device and manage your inbox from your mobile device even when you are out of office.
Sortd is also another powerful tool designed for Gmail users. With this tool, you can organize your inbox in a way that you don’t lose important emails.
The good thing about Sortd is that it allows you to sort emails by lists. For instance, you can sort emails by reply later, to-dos, follow-ups, etc. You can try the tool with the free plan before you upgrade to the premium plan.
In case you don’t want to receive new emails within a specified time, Batched Inbox is the best email management tool for that purpose. This tool works for Gmail users and the good thing about it is that it suspends all your incoming emails until the time when you need them in your inbox.
This means that you can specify your new emails to come in only in the evening when you are done with work. This way, you can get the time to process the emails you already have rather than being interrupted by new emails.
The Email Game is a sister tool to Boomerang since the two are from the same developers.
Once you receive an email, you have multiple options. You may want to reply immediately, reply later, or just skip. This tool does it the way you want.
Choose What Works For You
Honestly, there is no one best way to manage your work email. A trick might work for someone and not work for you.
Managing emails is a habit that you develop over time. Just choose what works for you and give the habit time to develop.