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Save Time on Email With These 10 Awesome Tricks

Save Time on Email With These 10 Awesome Tricks

Do you spend a majority of your time checking and sending emails? These days it seems like everyone does. It’s become a sort of obsession to keep tabs on the emails that we are receiving. If you dislike emails occupying most of your time, the ways below should help you save time. These tricks are designed to work with the features currently available in G-mail. Check your email provider to see if similar features are available.

1. Use labels to categorize emails

Labels are a way of managing your email and putting them in the appropriate folders where they belong. Think of labels as categories, wherein you separate your work emails from your personal emails and so on. So the next time your friend shoots you an email, it’ll appear in the label named as FRIEND in your inbox. It’s interesting, isn’t it?

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2. Canned responses

Do you find yourself typing the same email over and over all the time? Canned responses, or email templates, can help you. What this does is let you save a copy of the email that you write frequently, and then provides you an easy way to retrieve it when you want. Check out the video below to find out how to use email templates in G-mail.

3. Use keyboard shortcuts

You should make using keyboard shortcuts your habit, at least as long as you’re in the field of information technology. By doing so, you’ll save a lot of time on emails and can use that time to do something creative. For instance, if you want to compose an email without hitting that Compose button, simply hit the appropriate shortcut keys and it should do the magic. I’m sure you’re capable of finding shortcuts for your email program!

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4. Get rid of unwanted email

Most of the times I find my inbox cluttered with offers and unwanted spam. Although my email program filters out some emails, I still see some of them making it to my inbox. What can you do about it? Just hit that Unsubscribe link that appears at the bottom of the message and you should be all set. In case you don’t see it, hit Report as Spam and it’ll never appear in your inbox again. Be sure you aren’t abusing the Report as Spam link, however. If its an email you subscribed to, marking it as Spam will affect other users who actually want to see that email.

5. Load email in a faster environment

If you’re on a high-speed internet connection, you should start using the faster version of your email. G-mail has got both: a lighter view and a faster view. When you click on an email, it’ll appear instantly instead of reloading the whole page, saving you a few seconds (or maybe a few minutes, if you’re on dial-up) with your email.

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6. Use email auto-responders

Whether you’re on a vacation or just want to show people you’re a quick email-replier, set-up an email auto-responder that’ll automatically reply to the emails that you get. If you’re on vacation, you can simply set the responder to say when you’ll be back at the office. It will save you time that you’d have otherwise spent on writing out that email!

7. Use email apps if you’re on mobile

If your smartphone is what you use for all of your emailing purposes, you should get an app that can handle all of this for you. While there may be separate apps for each of your email programs, I’d recommend going for the Mailbox app, as it’s got no clutter. It’ll just be just you and your emails in the app. Saved you a bit of your time, didn’t it?

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8. Say NO to Facebook and Twitter for emails

Whenever a friend of yours posts something on Facebook or Twitter, you can get an email notifying you. These notifications really make no sense to be in your inbox, as they can also be seen by going to these websites. Head over to both of these websites (and other social sites that you’re active on), disable the email notifications option, and you should be all set.

9. An IM is better than an email

You might say I’m unprofessional for recommending instant messaging (IM) instead of professional emails. But if sending an IM can save you the headache of sending a long email, wouldn’t that be preferable? If someone reaches out to you asking for a little help, sometimes an IM would be more appropriate than a formal email.

10. Do NOT use emails for your to-do list

Most people have a tendency of using emails as their to-do list. When they have to do something, they simply send an email containing the message to themselves. So the next time they look at their inbox, they can remind themselves about the task they should do. You should STOP doing this. There’s a number of to-do or task tools out there to make use of and save your inbox from becoming clogged. It’ll help you find your most important emails so you can work on them instead of wasting time.

Featured photo credit: Detail of Girl’s Hands Typing on MacBook/Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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