6 Surprising Email Management Hacks

by | Productivity

Marcey Rader explains how to strategically control your Inbox and your day! 

Do you need help taming your inbox because you feel that emails come in like a fire hose? Your inbox can be like a faucet that you turn on and off. You can achieve this by working offline or pausing your inbox.

Do you remember a time you were on a flight, and there was no Wifi on the plane? You got through all your pending emails, and it felt amazing. The beauty of working offline or pausing your emails is that it will keep all the new emails from coming in. You're not seeing them, so you're not getting distracted and can respond to what's already in there. 

But you can’t always board a flight to get your work done peacefully, can you? This is where you can use Boomerang** for Gmail to tame your inbox or the Work Offline feature in Outlook.

Constant distractions from email are affecting our productivity

 “Constant Communication is not something that gets in the way of real work; it has instead become totally intertwined in how this work actually gets done .” – Cal Newport, Author, Deep Work

Regularly checking email is an everyday task that's impossible to avoid. No matter how diligent you are in hitting “reply,” managing a mounting email inbox is easier said than done. And if you're less diligent—you're more prone to letting your emails pile up unaddressed—that lack of inbox organization (and the anxiety of being in email debt) is likely affecting your productivity more than you realize.

One of our most popular training programs is Email Extinguisher, which provides simple steps to shrink the inbox and improve productivity.

The constant interruption and distraction from multitasking by constantly checking email can dramatically lower your productivity and disrupt your ability to enter a flow state when working on high-value projects. Luckily, there's a way out of the chaotic inbox hole. To better manage our unruly inboxes, we tapped productivity pros for time-saving (read: life-saving) email management hacks that'll bring us that much closer to the seemingly elusive “Inbox Zero.”

Here are six ideas to get you started on taming your inbox:

 “Deep work is so important that we might call it the superpower of the 21st Century .” – Cal Newport, Author, A World Without Email

Set aside time blocks for checking emails:

A proven way to use email effectively is by allocating specific blocks of time to focus your attention on it. The best practice approach is taking two or three 20-minute blocks daily to work through your inbox.

Make sub-folders:

Microsoft folders and Gmail Labels are some of the most underrated features every email client offers. This simple productivity habit of placing every useful email into a topical cluster can help you organize your inbox and better understand what’s coming in and going out. However, there is a tendency to hyper-organize. Don't make so many folders or labels that you must scroll up and down or don't remember what you put in them.

Set inbox rules or filters:

You can set up Rules (Microsoft) and Filters (Gmail) to delete spam emails before they clutter your inbox, unsubscribe from useless newsletters, and add a separate account for potential junk emails.

Use your calendar to block time for checking emails:

Calendar apps can help you stay on task, be productive, and manage projects. You can improve your email productivity by time-blocking (blocking off designated times for specific tasks) in your calendar. 

Turn off notifications:

This is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to get one step closer to focus mode. Turning off notifications will prevent you from being distracted by the messages that ring, ping, or buzz in your phone, watch, or computer. 

Delay Delivery:

Delaying your delivery if you work during someone's off hours is courteous but also a strategy. I don't want somebody to get a proposal from me at 5 pm because studies show we are more likely to resort to status quo or fear-based decisions when tired. I want them to get the email early during work hours when they are more likely to say yes. I strategically send my proposals at certain times. If you are in a position of hierarchy, it's also important to know that it doesn’t matter how often you say, “I work at night or weekends, but you don’t need to respond“; most people will feel compelled to respond to you if they rank lower on the ladder.

You can also gain more wisdom from how I manage my inbox.  I don't get many emails because I use a lot of filters to bypass my inbox. I also make use of project management systems like ClickUp**.

Need personal help to tame your inbox? Reach out to us about our super-popular Inbox Rescue!

From the above tips, what is one micro step you want to start with for taming your inbox?

Post written by Marcey Rader and Rijul Arora.

Note: **  are affiliate links, meaning that we'll earn a commission if you choose to purchase. This comes at no additional cost to you. We use these ourselves and recommend them regardless, but if we can earn a small commission, why not?

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