Advertising

Save Time on Email With These 10 Awesome Tricks

Save Time on Email With These 10 Awesome Tricks
Advertising

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?

Advertising

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!

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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?

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Save Time on Email With These 10 Awesome Tricks

Trending in Productivity

1 7 Effective Ways To Motivate Employees in 2021 2 How a Project Management Mindset Boosts Your Productivity 3 5 Values of an Effective Leader 4 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 5 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Advertising

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

Advertising

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

Advertising

The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

Advertising

But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

Advertising

Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

Read Next