Work Emails Productive Management Guide

  • Greg Burn
  • 2019-12-26

The average number of emails that a professional receives every day is over 120. But your work inbox may easily receive even hundreds of letters, let alone spam and advertising. In such a case, manual inbox management becomes impossible. In this article, we provide essential things that you can do to become a more productive worker, so read on. 

1. Assign Daily Time to Manage Your Email

Work emails can come to your inbox multiple times a day without any schedule. They also have different levels of importance. That’s why many employees make a mistake and check their inboxes several times a day. Just a quick look at the inbox won’t solve any problems but will take time instead. Try to designate the best time of the day to read and answer letters to batch the process. 

The best time to process work emails is usually early morning when you come to work. Such an approach lets you read all incoming letters for the previous day and reply early enough to match time with others. The majority of office workers check their inboxes in the morning, so it’s the fastest way to communicate via email. The second popular email time is the end of the work day. It may work for you if your plans for the next day depend on letters that you receive during the day. 

2. Remove the Noise

gmail on computer

Let’s be honest, not all emails that you receive or even the majority of them are totally useless. That’s why we recommend you to check the subject of each letter before opening. All subjects that look promotional or intend to take your time deserve to be deleted immediately. Of course, clicking Delete takes some time too, but it lets you skim the feed much faster in the future. Don’t try to be polite and tell everyone that you don’t need their service or you don’t have time to meet at the weekend because nobody really cares. 

Skim the feed for meaningless messages and check them one by one to delete in a single click and switch over to more important ones. The same goes for those letters that have been there for several days or more. If they were necessary, the senders would forward them again to reach you out. If they don’t, delete their threads without thinking long.

If you don’t have enough time to deal with important messages, but don’t want to forget about them, add them to the Read Later folder. It has different names on various platforms, but it’s always something like “Later,” “Remind Me Later,” etc. Other types of messages, including strange and unfamiliar ones, deserve immediate deleting. 

3. No Need to Reply Everyone

There’s a rule that says, “no answer is an answer.” It means that the absence of a reply to an email is also a reply. You won’t harm anyone doing so. Imagine how many hours or even working days it will take to send a written reply to everyone! Always keep in mind that you have loads of other tasks to accomplish during the day. 

Take care of your nerves and don’t waste time as it leads to frustration. Choose only the really important messages and delete the rest. If you get rid of something important by accident, the sender will follow up in most cases. 

4. Use Tags, Labels, Categories, and Folders

If you use Gmail or Outlook for work communication, you can group incoming emails. Once you create a label, it automatically forms a separate folder for grouping. Name each tag clearly so that you could understand what group it belongs to. Besides, you can select a color for each label for faster navigation. 

Categories are special folders that you can find at the bottom of the sidebar. They automatically filter emails that include promotional materials, important notifications from authorized services, messages from forums, and updates from your social network accounts. Unfortunately, the categories are fixed, so you cannot add or remove them. You can only choose which of them should or shouldn’t be displayed on the sidebar. 

5. Reply Via the “Specific Date” Folder

Specific Date gmail

You can use the “Specific Date” folder for delayed replies. Add all important messages to the folder and take 1-3 days to reply. The service will remind you when the time comes so that you don’t forget. There’s almost no sense in replying immediately, so think about your current objectives first. 

6. Don’t Read Everything

We don’t recommend you to read any email if you’re not sure that it’s important enough. It will save you a lot of time for important current tasks in a long term perspective. Read only those threads that may include valuable information. 

7. The 1-Minute Rule

Most emails, including the most important ones, require 1 minute or less to reply to. Try not to spend more than that, and you will process many more messages during the mail time. If it’s too hard to types so fast, create a bunch of universal templates. 

8. Do The Cleaning

If you don’t feel like removing rubbish emails every day, choose one day within a week to declutter your inbox. It won’t take over 5 minutes per week but will save you loads of time in advance. 

9. Disable Notifications

notification settings in gmail

If you receive hundreds of emails, notifications will explode your mind. To avoid that, disable notifications forever and stick to fixed time to process messages. Studies proved that a sudden notification might ruin concentration for up to 23 minutes! 

10. Invest in Automation

The last but not the least thing that you can do is invest in management tools. Most of them work as plugins for your browser or mobile apps. For example, Batched Inbox lets you receive emails in scheduled hours to avoid distractions. Another one, The Email Game, lets you view incoming messages one by one, skip them, delay, or reply immediately. 

Be Flexible

Try to begin with the email flow optimization methods described in the article, and you will be surprised by the amount of saved time. If manual methods seem not enough to deal with your busy inbox, think of purchasing additional software to automate the process. How do you deal with your work emails? Tell us about your experience in the comments and share the article with your colleagues.

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