Let’s face it email is not going away and is a huge way we communicate with each other. If you are like me, you have two or more email accounts that you must review on a regular basis. A few years ago, I was tired of the amount of time that I was spending on email, so I decided to do something about it. I spent some time watching my email habits and made some changes. Today, I spend no more than an hour a day doing email. Here are my tips and tricks.

Turn off All Notifications. I quickly noticed that I am tempted by the badge notifications on my phone and that little pop-up on my desktop. They beckoned me to just take a quick peek. 30 minutes later, I would come up for air. So, I turned off all notifications on my phone and computer, and I visit my email apps three or four times a day when I am ready to process through them.

Process Instead of Read. As I mentioned above, I access my email accounts on purpose a few times a day. During those session, I process my emails by quickly scanning each email and doing one of four things:

  • Respond to it – If I can respond in less than a minute, I do, otherwise, I move on.
  • Put it on my task list – This is an email that I need to read more thoroughly or complete a longer task.
  • Snooze it – The email is not urgent, but I want to look at it on a later date. (more below)
  • Archive it – Send it straight to the archive in case I want to reference it later.

Snooze Emails. When Google introduced the snooze feature in Gmail, I was immediately hooked. This is a feature that I use all the time! The snooze feature lets you postpone the email for a future date. Think of it as rescheduling the email for a time that is more convenient for you. At that time, it will be returned to your inbox. For example, you want that delivery notification for your Amazon package, but not until it is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. This feature has become so popular that Microsoft has also incorporated it into the Outlook app.

Forget the Folders. I am a very organized person…sometimes to a fault, but I gave up organizing my emails into folders many years ago. When I am done with an email, I simply put it in the Archive. If you are not familiar with the archive, I would encourage you to check it out. When I need to find an email, I use just use the excellent search functionality that both Gmail and Outlook boast.

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