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10 email productivity hacks you should know

What is one email productivity hack that allows you to maximize your performance and get more done in a day? Well, to help you answer this question, we’ve gathered feedback from CEOs and founders for their best email productivity tricks

From using chat tools for internal communication to automating emails, there are several email tricks that can help you accomplish more in a day, and today we’ll tell you about a couple of them.

Email productivity hacks for your business

It’s certainly tempting to pick up the phone every time a new email notification rings. But still, resist the temptation and check out these 10 expert tips to better manage incoming emails and optimize your workday.

1. Use chat tools for internal communication

“This is a very famous strategy among CEOs, as sometimes it is much easier to have corporate conversations via internal chat tools and eliminate emails for good.

As you know, sending emails to the co-workers or team members you manage can take too much time, and, come on, you barely have enough time to take care of everything in the office to get around to curating an official email.

As such, I use a chat tool for all internal communication. This helps me save time and doesn’t distract me too much from work either. Implementing internal communication software has not only helped raise my productivity, but of all the workers I communicate with.”

—Ryan Stewart, Webris.

2. Turn off notifications

“While you are working on a task or project, it is best to turn off email notifications, as it helps you stay focused and finish one thing before taking care of something else. 

Eliminating email notifications can reduce the urge to take a peek at any incoming emails that would distract you from what you’re currently working on. 

When you devote your full attention to one thing at a time, the outcome leads to a better result. It can also help you maintain your mental focus and reduce the need to stress about yet another project or item on your to-do list.”

—Annette Harris, Harris Financial Coaching.

3. Categorize emails

“If you usually receive emails from customers or coworkers via forms on your website, be sure to configure folders and set up rules to automatically feed these emails into those respective folders, bypassing the inbox.

What this does is it allows you to open your email without getting distracted by all of the different demands on your time and prioritize who you’re going to respond to. As an example, I always prioritize my ‘Leads’ folder, which is where emails from my contact form are funneled to, and my ‘Clients’ folder because they’re the most pressing.”

—Sarah Moore, Eleven Lights Media.

4. Combine Trello and Dropbox with Outlook

“We can say that Dropbox is easily the best Outlook add-in, as file synchronization between different devices is a lifesaver because it completely avoids data dispersion. Collaboration with clients on shared documents is now possible with a click. Dropbox also ensures that files remain secure and that even deleted versions can be accessed at any time.

For example, I use Trello and Dropbox with Outlook. They make a deadly combo! Trello facilitates easy resource allocation and collaboration when integrated with the Outlook calendar. Trello boards ensure there is no overlap of resources.”

—Ilija Sekulov, Mailbutler.

5. Creating templates to save time

“Creating email templates and implementing them to help you on a daily basis can maximize your productivity and help you get more done in a day. You may also know them as “canned responses,” because by creating and saving email templates ahead of time, you can quickly insert them into future emails

which can be a great time saver when you find yourself sending similar emails on a regular basis. Also, an easy way to determine which templates to create and use is to review previous emails you’ve sent to identify possible patterns and common responses.

A key thing to keep in mind creating these canned responses is to make sure you personalize each one so that it doesn’t sound like a copy-and-paste job. A little effort here will go a long way in making sure your recipients know that you care about them and are taking the time to write a personal message.”

—Jonathan Baillie Strong, Spotlight Podcasting.

6. Maintain a clean inbox with Outlook’s snooze feature

“Many workers feel uncomfortable having their email inbox full. But the latest version of Microsoft Outlook introduced the new “sleep” feature that allows you to hide a message for a certain amount of time (an hour, a day, or whatever you need) and then it reappears at the agreed-upon time.

I work on an ‘inbox zero’ principle: I want to have no emails in my inbox. They are either deleted, replied to or filed away. Sometimes I can’t reply to something immediately or I need to get input from someone else and this snooze button helps me keep a clean inbox while I’m waiting.”

—Matthew Stibbe, Articulate Marketing.

7. Control email flow with email analytics

“The primary issue I have with trying to be productive with email is maintenance: Sure maybe I’ve spent a good day unsubscribing to things, routing certain emails away, and etc. But over time, you lose that battle because there’s no way to know when you have to readjust and clean up your inbox again – except there’s a solution.

Email analytics is a thing, and it is a serious game changer for letting me know how long I’m spending on email. I use it to determine if I’m getting more or less email per month than before, and if it goes up, I know that I have to audit what’s coming in so that there’s less noise and a more focused inbox.”

—Howard Lee, LFDM Marketing Advisors.

8. Answer emails on mobile phone

“By now everyone has dismissed the use of email on the phone, but what no one knows is that to minimize the time I spend checking my email, I only look at my emails on mobile. This is because a cell phone screen is smaller than a desktop computer, so you are psychologically programmed to type less and get straight to the point. So that would minimize the amount of fluff you tend to write in emails.

Answering emails on your mobile phone also minimizes distractions. Emails on your mobile phone take up your entire screen, so there is nothing that can distract you. Whereas if you were to answer your emails on a desktop, there are plenty of things on the screen that can take your attention away.”

—Sean Lau, LivingOutLau.

9. Avoid starting your day with emails

“Instead of starting your day working through new emails, utilize the first hour of the day to focus on your important task of the day. This is a better way to start the day than looking through emails.

If you start off with checking your inbox, you can sometimes spend all morning going through emails and spending time on lots of small tasks. When you start your day by focusing on an important task, whatever else happens for the rest of the day, you can be confident you have had at least a productive start to the day.”

—Max Peters, Technical SEO Consulting.

10. Create time blocks for checking emails

“Part of the reason emails can be such a distraction is because we tend to check our inbox constantly throughout the day, every time we hear that new message notification. If you want to take back control of your time, set specific blocks when you will check and respond to email.

You should check your email inbox twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. But feel free to adjust this based on your own work style and schedule. The important thing is that you’re not checking email all day long.”

—Danielle Bedford, Coople.

Final thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, you probably already know how to be more productive while still getting the most out of your corporate email. These 10 CEOs express their opinions from their perspectives, and what better way to implement strategies from the point of view of experienced people.

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