For many people, email productivity seems impossible as the constant stream of emails landing into their inboxes is exhausting. With so much to do, it can even cause people to shut down and actively seek distraction, making a stressful situation even worse.
If this sounds familiar, implementing some strategies to help manage your email productivity can get you on the right track to a much more efficient work style.
If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve collected five of our favorite email productivity tips to get you started.
This might seem obvious, but distractions easily creep into our workday. So taking simple steps to distance yourself from them (with your phone being a big one) can help prevent the reflexive need to distract yourself. Breaking this habit is key to staying productive in the long-term and redirecting focus to where it really counts.
It’s not just about removing your phone from the equation, though—people often find distractions unique to them and might find that snoozing notifications or using apps to block non-productive website browsing similarly effective.
If something isn’t working for you, keep trying—sometimes you might need to eliminate a surprising number of distractions from your space before you can focus back on work.
Many people find it difficult to work without some kind of structure, and it is in these instances where time management is most effective. Allocating a specific amount of time to tasks—a process called timeboxing—can help you manage emails in much more immediate and focused ways.
Time limits not only reinforce the notion that you need to complete a task in a certain window, but they can also provide a sense of accomplishment as well, and it’s feelings like this that reinforce good behavior.
This also means you should avoid multitasking wherever possible. Despite some people touting multitasking as an important part of productivity, it can actually be quite the opposite—trying to do a few things at once can quickly cause you to lose focus on the tasks at hand, causing you to unnecessarily lose precious time.
Sorting through a disorganized email inbox can sap a lot of time on a regular basis, so it’s important that you take steps to automate your inbox as much as possible to prevent this.
Automation in this case involves setting up a specific set of rules and filters that automatically send emails into certain labels or folders.
You can sort these folders to be related to urgency, clients, or whatever else helps you work the most efficiently. It’s also possible to automatically delete unwanted emails to prevent unnecessary clutter from building up in your inbox. Explore our article on how to get the most out of inbox filters.
Sometimes the best way to save time with your email is by not regularly engaging with it. Although it might not seem like it, an inbox can be just as much a productivity leech as any other application or device—we’re often trained to have it open constantly, but this causes us to spend more time than we actually need focusing on emails.
To ensure you don’t waste unnecessary time in your inbox, you should only have it open when you’re actively managing your inbox or writing and replying to emails.
Reviewing and managing important emails should obviously be of the highest priority, but if you find that there’s something that isn’t urgent, it’s often best to hold off from opening your inbox again.
While we’ve listed a few hands-on approaches to productivity, sometimes the best way to streamline your workday is by letting something else take control. Email management software is a particularly good option for time-poor people who can’t dedicate the time necessary to sit down and properly set up filters and rules for a more efficient inbox.
They’re easy to set up, too—a clever tool like InMoat seamlessly integrates with your existing Gmail or Outlook to provide simple and smart filtering. It’s also constantly updated to ensure you remain as distraction-free as possible.
Email isn’t going away anytime soon, so taking the time to approach it with a more efficient mindset should be treated as an investment.
Not all of the tips we touched on will work for everyone, so it’s worth taking the time to see what works best for you. You can try InMoat’s AI-powered Smart Filters today.