Top 10 tips for Email Time Management

  • Is your inbox looking scary?

    23 Sep 2019

    Feel like you just don’t have enough hours in the day at work?


    It could be your emails.


    It can be hard to get anything done if your inbox is always full and you feel like you're constantly wading through emails.

    Email is a great way to communicate. It’s fast, it’s cheap, and incredibly adaptable, but it can be a big time suck.

    According to Statista, in 2018 281.1 billion emails were sent and received worldwide. 

    And these numbers are expected to keep increasing.


    Here are our top 10 tips for managing your time better when it comes to emails:

    1. Turn off the ‘new email’ notifications

    Email notification pop-ups provide a constant interruption which can disrupt you from your workflow.

    The alert gives you just enough information to tempt you away from whatever you’re working on.

    Instead, switch it off and pick specific times throughout the day to check and reply to your emails. Knowing you have this set time will allow you the space you need to complete your other tasks.


    2. Encourage a company email policy

    This one will be a little trickier if you work in a big company, but you can establish it within your own team.

    Work together to set some guidelines that work for everyone.

    Here are our suggestions of a couple of ideas that might work for you;

    • Think twice before cc-ing a colleague in. Do they really need to be included or are you spamming them?
    • Keep it short, and to the point. Sometimes there is a lot to say, so put it into bullet points. People struggle, especially when rushing to process large paragraphs.


    3. Ended up on a mailing list?

    Have you ended up on a mailing list and keep getting sent emails? You don’t unsubscribe but never really end up reading them.

    Set a deadline, whether it’s a specific number of emails or a length of time. If they’ve not sent you anything that you’ve found useful or interesting enough to read, hit unsubscribe.


    4. Lots of internal emails?

    Does it need to be an email? Sometimes you might have a quick note that doesn’t need to be an email.

    Instead, think about establishing a messaging system such as Yammer, the chat function on gmail, or Slack.


    5. Do you get CC’d in a lot?

    If it’s just an update from a colleague keeping you in the loop, put it in a folder to read later.

    You can read them all in one go when you have time to concentrate.


    6. Make an empty inbox your goal 

    Keeping all your emails in your inbox can feel stressful. It’s easy to miss things and lose items.

    A full inbox of read emails can also feel like a stressful to-do list.

    So take the time to clear it, get it down to nearly empty.

    Can’t delete them yet? Sort them into folders.

    But make sure your sorting system isn't over-complicated (you might forget where you’ve put things). Remember, this is especially important if you’re using Outlook as the search function can be a little hinky with emails in folders.


    7. Create ‘Rules’

    Depending on your average number of emails, you are likely always going to need to manually sort through them as listed in point 6. But, you can make life easier for yourself.

    By setting up custom action rules (Outlook) or smart labels (gmail) you can classify your emails as they come in, minimising the amount of time you have to spend sorting your priority emails (i.e. enquiries) and not so priority emails (maybe friends/family). 


    8. Sometimes you DO need another email

    This tip is a little different as we are actually encouraging you to send another email.

    Don’t send 1 email covering 2 or more very different topics unless absolutely essential.

    It makes it harder for the recipient to sort. With emails whizzing back and forth it also makes it easier for things to be missed.

    Instead, pick one big topic per email, with a subject line that helps make it easily identifiable.

    Conversely, if you have lots of different thoughts on 1 topic, try to put them in one email. This helps everybody stay on the same page.


    9. DON’T put your work emails on your personal phone.

    You don’t need them there. Having the ability to check is incredibly tempting, and you need time to relax and forget about work.

    If you really do need to check your work emails from home, designate a set time to check them at your computer when you can handle them properly. Just reading them because you can doesn’t help anybody.


    10. Pre-set emails

    Regularly have to give the same information? Don’t waste time typing it out each time, or risk dreaded copy/paste mistakes.

    Instead, you can keep regularly used elements stored to use whenever you need.

    Gmail Canned Responses

    1) First you need to enable this feature, go to Settings>Advanced>Canned Responses (templates) and select "Enabled"

    2) When you've written out your email you want to save as a template, click the 3 dots (in the bottom right hand corner of the email editor) find "Canned Responses" from the dropdown select "Save draft as template" and give it a name. Note that the email footer and subject line are saved with the

    3) This will template will then be available to use in any response email or draft by clicking on the 3 dots button, finding Canned Responses and finding your saved template. 

    Outlook 'Quick Parts'

    1) Write out and select the text you would like to save in a new email

    2) Under 'Insert', then 'Text' group, click 'Quick Parts' and then 'Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery'

    3) Most of the form is auto-populated and fine for most users, you just need to fill in 'Name' with something short & memorable, then click ok.

    4) You're ready to use your saved content in an email. You can do this in 1 of several ways, here are our 2 favourites:

     a) type out the short & memorable name you gave the text and press F3

     b)  Can't remember what you named it? Click on 'quick parts' and click on your chosen saved content.


    So those are our top 10 tips to save time with email management.

    Have you got any tips that really work for you? Let us know on twitter @mtrainingUK

    Would you like to learn to manage your time even better? Check out our 1 day Time Management training course.




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