The average worker in the US spends an estimated 28% of the work week managing email. That equates to one day a week! Obviously, we have to get this under control. If you’re using Gmail, there are some simple ways to help save you time and frustration.
Use canned responses – A lot of the emails that we reply to are somewhat similar: answers to common questions from parents, reminders, and such. These often-typed messages can be standardized and then customized as needed. First, turn on canned responses by going to Settings – Labs – Canned Responses and Enable. Scroll down and click Save. Now create an email message you’d like to use over and over again, and then click the arrow in the lower right-hand corner of the message window. Choose Canned Responses, and under the Save heading, select New Canned Response. Give your response a name and click OK.
The next time someone emails you something that fits the canned response you created, reply to the message and instead of typing your response, click the arrow button in the lower right-hand corner, select Canned Responses, and then under Insert, choose the canned response you created in the previous step. You’ll then see your response appear in the body of your reply.
Schedule your emails – The free Boomerang Chrome extension lets you schedule emails to be sent later and allows you to archive emails that will reemerge in your inbox later as an unread message.
Pause your inbox – If you find that you get distracted from other projects by constantly checking your email, you can pause them so that you can get more work done. Inbox Pause, a free Chrome extension, will hold your emails until you’re ready for them. Take control!
Unsubscribe from unwanted emails – Many of us get a little carried away with subscribing to email services we think will be useful, but find we’re just deleting them unread when they appear. Use Unroll Me to unsubscribe yourself from unwanted emails (but this won’t work on emails coming from your supervisor!).
Motivate yourself to clean up your inbox with the Email Game – Gamify clearing out your inbox with this free tool. Simply enter your email address and the game will start. It gives you five seconds per email to decide what to do with it:
- “Boomerang” (i.e. archive now and resurface in your inbox at a later, specified time; see above)
You get a certain number of points for each action and you’re penalized if you go over time. If you click “reply,” then you’re given three minutes by default to respond. You can always add time if you really need to, but speed is in your best interest here.
Turn your inbox into organized to-do lists – Add the free Chrome extension Drag to your computer and you’ll be able to easily organize your emails into to-do lists, much like in Trello. This will help you know what to work on next.
What other Gmail tips do you use to save time?
Additional content and resources were added to this blog on April 12, 2018.