Ask any working professional for email management tips, and they will give you a long list. Ask them about how much time they are still spending on email, and you will likely hear – “A lot!. Most of our day.” Isn’t it surprising?
The truth is that emails take up so much time that people have stopped tracking the exact time spent on it, and also they no longer feel the need to systematize it.
With apparently, every American worker receiving an average of 126 emails a day, this tool is turning out to be counter-productive. So how do you stop emails from eating away your time and draining your productivity?
As a business owner or working professional, you can’t afford to spend a significant amount of time scanning and responding to emails. There’s much more on the plate to deal with. Don’t worry, as we are here to help you rise above your email management woes.
In this blog, we will help you learn how to do email management the right way. We will discuss the role of email management software and explore 25 trending email management tips that will boost productivity. Let’s go!
25 Best Email Management Tips You Should Know
Here are some best email management tips you must know in 2022:
1. Dedicate Specific Amount of Time for Email
Most people have no idea how much time they spend browsing, sorting, deleting, or replying to their business emails. But it’s more than you think.
The software company Adobe surveyed over 1,000 American workers to understand their daily email usage. They found that workers, on average, spend more than five hours per day checking their work as well as personal emails.
For managing emails effectively, you cannot allow emails to eat away your time. Dedicate a particular time in the day for email – it can be a minute or an hour, depending on the nature of your job. The next time you check your inbox, time yourself. Once you are about to close, see the amount of time spent and ask yourself. “Could I have done it in less time?”
Remember, even if you get long emails, the response does not necessarily have to be lengthy. Avoid spending more than 1 minute on a single email and get closer to your goal of inbox zero.
2. Invest in Email Management Software
When you talk about email management tips and tricks, nothing works better than investing in the right tool. Email technology has gradually improved over the years, and you should make the most of it.
The right email management tool will help you keep things organized, enhance team collaboration, automate tasks, and reach inbox-zero faster.
Here are some must-have features of email management software:
- Email Prioritization: With an email management system, you can adjust the priority of incoming emails by marking them as High, Low, or Normal. This will ensure that team members know which emails they need to work on first.
- Labels: Labels are like email tags that help you distinguish one email from another or group similar emails together. For example, you can create Labels such as ‘Billing’ and ‘Bug’ and assign them to the relevant members of your team.
- Email Analytics: Email management tools are known for their robust reporting capabilities. For instance, you can monitor team performance, email response times and check all your pending emails from a single dashboard.
3. Turn Email Notifications Off When Not Working
The modern-day worker is constantly connected to the world via the internet. No wonder a single minute of internet downtime feels like the world has come to an end.
When you have your email notifications on throughout the day, it can lead to mental fatigue, distractions, impact your personal life, and deteriorate your relationships.
Even if you have set a dedicated time to check your emails, you might find it hard to resist the sound of notification alerts. And as soon as you try to click on the notification and start checking emails, you realize you are caught in a never-ending loop.
So as soon as you step out of work, make sure your email notifications are turned off. You must turn it on only when you are expecting an urgent email from someone.
4. Delete Emails You No Longer Need
Yes, there has been an exponential improvement in cloud storage capacity in the past few decades. However, that does not mean you keep your irrelevant emails buried deep inside your inbox.
For better business email management, dedicate a single day every week to start your cleaning drive. Hit that ‘delete’ icon on the emails you no longer need, and don’t hesitate to put them in the trash.
There is no point in being emotionally attached to emails just because it was the first email from your favorite customer or business partner. Go crazy deleting stuff, and you will soon breathe a sigh of relief.
For emails that you are not sure about deleting, you can always Archive them. So if you feel like reading them back, you will still have a short window to access your archived emails.
5. Personalize Your Inbox With Themes
Who said your email interface has to be boring? When you have to spend a lot of time checking or answering emails, the look and feel of your inbox can influence your mood and energy levels.
Colors and images have the power to influence one’s behavior. For instance, the color yellow is known to evoke feelings of happiness and enthusiasm. Similarly, trust and serenity are evoked by the color blue.
Depending on the email client you use, you can explore multiple customization options. For instance, with Gmail, you can select the density of the text, inbox type, choose an appropriate theme, or upload an image from your computer. As you select a theme, you will see your inbox change to it immediately.
Even by making small changes to your inbox’s background, you will notice positive changes. Opening a personalized inbox right in the morning can lead to a kickass start to your workday.
6. Use Pre-Made Templates for Common Emails
This email management strategy is a significant time-saver if you have to deal with the same type of emails frequently. All you have to do is create several templates for the most frequent scenarios and then tweak them to the current circumstances before hitting the send button.
With pre-made templates, you won’t have to waste time constantly typing the same replies. Instead, you’ll be able to refocus and pay attention to more complex and demanding tasks.
But you also need to remember that blatantly using templates can make an email response look impersonal and automated. To add a healthy dose of personalization, use people’s names, try to ask questions to understand their unique challenges, or use some humor every now and then.
7. Avoid Opening Irrelevant Emails
Businesses are spending millions of dollars, and marketing experts are working day in and day out to make you open their email. No wonder we all have received emails with extremely catchy subject lines.
The truth is that not all emails that land in your inbox deserve your attention. Avoid opening cold emails as they will consume your time and impact your productivity levels.
Stay away from clickbait emails where the sender intends to grab your attention and make you click on a particular link. Avoid opening emails that claim to offer unreasonable discounts, gift vouchers, or where the subject line reads “Double your sales in one week”.
Once you make this a habit, you will be able to smell irrelevant emails from far and save yourself valuable time. Instead of opening, you can delete them directly and keep your inbox looking clean and fresh.
8. Use Shared Inbox Tool to Manage Group Emails
Managing group email accounts such as [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc., can get really challenging. There are too many people involved, and you never know who is responding to which message.
Shared inbox software makes managing your group email accounts a breeze. You can see who is working on which email in real-time and avoid sharing duplicate replies.
Moreover, you can even assign emails automatically to team members based on their relevant skills or knowledge. For instance, you can route technical emails to one team member and billing-related emails to another.
You can even access multiple shared inboxes in one place without having to log out from one to access another. All stakeholders who have access to an inbox can communicate with each other using Private Notes and brainstorm on complex emails before sending a reply.
9. Don’t Postpone Replying to an Email if it Takes You Less than 60 Seconds
Procrastination might be killing your email organization efforts. Postponing replies to demanding emails may have a reasonable justification. However, if you delay providing a quick, short response that doesn’t require more than a minute of your time, you’ll pretty likely experience one of the three scenarios:
- You’ll forget you didn’t reply, so you won’t reply.
- You’ll pile up a bunch of emails of this type and potentially end up spending hours replying to all of them at once.
- Your answer will be outdated, and the email sender disappointed.
Therefore, to avoid these scenarios, make it a thumb rule to respond to emails that take less than 60 seconds to reply. By the end of the day, you will notice that you have lesser pending emails and better business as well as customer relationships.
10. Enhance Speed With Keyboard Shortcuts
Using keyboard shortcuts is considered one of the best tips for managing emails. For example, by pressing a single key such as ‘C’, you can open the new email pop-up window.
Keyboard shortcuts are a productivity booster. Right from composing, searching, navigating, to writing emails, there is a lot you can do by pressing the right combination of keys.
For example, Gmail offers a wide range of keyboard shortcuts that let you work faster and use the mouse less often. To activate shortcuts, all you need to do is turn them on. You can press Enter to open an email conversation or ‘Z’ to undo.
The best part is that most email clients allow you to customize your own keyboard shortcuts. You can choose which keys will perform which function and get better at managing your email load.
11. Use Automated Replies When Your Team is Not Available
A lot of times, teams are not available to take chats or respond to emails. In such a scenario, automated replies can help you let senders know about the current situation or by when they can expect an ideal response.
If you don’t have time to reply to emails instantly, use your email management software to automatically let the senders know you’ll get back to them once you’re available again.
This feature is also useful if you’re on vacation or out of the office due to some unpredictable circumstances. This way, you’ll prevent misunderstandings and correspondents’ frustrations.
Here is an example of an automated email response:
Automated replies are usually triggered within a few seconds after receiving the message. Moreover, they can also be used for responding to customer complaints when your team is offline.
12. Unsubscribe From Newsletters that Don’t Bring Value
While creating an account on any website, we often end up subscribing to their newsletters. While newsletters can offer you handy information, but they are not always necessary especially, if you don’t use the product or service anymore.
Don’t feel guilty. Hit that ‘Unsubscribe’ button quickly if the newsletter from a brand does not bring any value. There is no point in cluttering your inbox with useless emails.
This is one of the most important recommendations among the email management tips that increase your efficiency and save you from distractions.
The truth is, people frequently aren’t aware of how much time they spend scrolling through useless emails, even if they just open them to delete them or label them as irrelevant. So, once you simply unsubscribe and stop random useless newsletters and automated emails from distracting you, you may even double up your productivity.
13. Judge an Email Based on Its Subject/Topic.
Instead of opening each and every email, you can simply check the subject line and see if it deserves your attention or not. A genuine subject line from a genuine sender is worth opening.
In a large number of cases, this is the best way to manage email as you can identify your top priority emails and handle them first.
Sometimes, you may be able to realize if an email needs an instant answer by simply checking the senders’ name and email topic.
For instance, if you’re a business manager and you receive an email titled “Urgent: Support System Needing Update” and another one titled “Blog Post Topics Suggestions”, you’ll easily realize which one of them requires your instant reaction. You will not only know which emails to reply to first but also the emails you need to avoid at all costs.
14. Introduce a No-Reply Policy for Certain Types of Emails
Let’s be honest; not every email out there deserves your response. In some cases, no reply is a pretty clear reply as well.
However, be sure to use the no-reply policy only for the types of emails that won’t jeopardize your business reputation and performance.
For instance, you can leave a sender without a reply if:
- It seems like a circular email that isn’t relevant for your business
- It is a promotional email selling something that you do not need
- The sender asks you to reply only if you’re interested in collaboration
- It is a simple “Thank you” email response from a customer or business partner
However, you need to be extra careful, so that team members don’t misuse this option. Some important emails will definitely deserve a response, particularly if they need you to address some major, time-sensitive concerns.
15. Use Short & Convenient Replies
Just because someone has shared an in-depth email does not mean you are supposed to reply using the same amount of words. A short yet well-explained email response should get the job done in most cases.
A well-curated list of canned responses makes it pretty easy for you to provide quick replies to your correspondents. You can copy-paste relevant paragraphs and share faster replies.
Imagine a situation where a customer enquires about your upcoming event. Instead of typing out a long reply, you can simply attach a PDF file that includes all the relevant information.
Even if you have no time to address customer concerns instantly, you can at least let them know that their email is received and that you’ll get back to them as soon as possible. After all, a short reply is better than no reply at all.
16. Take Special Care of Your Subject Line
Just like you may decide if you’re going to read an email based on its subject line, you should remember that somebody else may evaluate your email the same way. The subject line of your email is considered the most important few words in the entire email.
Your email management skills and knowledge are incomplete if you do not know how to write the best subject lines. After reading your subject, the receiver must be enticed and say, “TELL ME MORE!”
So make sure to name your email in a clear and precise way that lets the recipient understand what the content is about. Keep the subject short yet interesting enough to catch the attention of your target audience.
The more room you leave for them to question the importance of your email content, the more likely it is that they will postpone reading it.
17. Stop Sending Emails that Seem Cold & Impersonal
This is an email management best practice that is pretty popular yet somewhat underrated. Even though you can find a lot of resources explaining the importance of personalized emails and style, many people still aren’t aware of its role and effects.
To make your emails more pleasant to read, you should work on their personalization. A highly personalized email will help you delight the reader, generate more leads, or handle an angry customer.
Here are some of the simplest ways to personalize your emails and make them more engaging:
- Be friendly and polite, making sure to match your tone with your business culture and values
- Start your email with a personalized salutation (address your correspondent by their name)
- Share personalized offers, discounts, product recommendations, and more
- Making your email subject line seem like a call-to-action
18. Make Sure to Address All the Points
To establish impeccable email communication, you shouldn’t only pay attention to technical aspects of your tone but also to the information you provide.
When you receive important emails, give enough time to read their content. Try to break the content body into points so that you can address them separately in your reply.
So, to achieve a sleek communication flow, before hitting the send button, you should:
- Check if you’ve replied to all the questions asked by your correspondent
- Do not repeat the same question if your correspondent has already provided an answer
- Always ask if there are any additional questions or help someone needs
Learning how to manage work emails will never be easy. However, you can craft the best email responses by being attentive, empathetic, and a little patient.
19. Double-Check Your File Attachments
One of the greatest aspects of email is that you can share important documents with customers, business partners, etc. However, have you ever forgotten to attach these important documents to the email body? Don’t worry; you are not alone!
Forgetting to add relevant file attachments, can lead to embarrassment, unhappy customers, and lost deals. No wonder it’s considered one of the biggest email sins.
Is it worse to send a wrong attachment to your correspondent or to say you’re sending a document without actually attaching one?
Whatever your answer to this question is, do your best to avoid this scenario, as both of the above options may make you seem unreliable and not so professional. So, before sending your email, make sure to have your attachments carefully selected and properly attached.
20. Check Your Spam Folder Occasionally
We know that your regular email inbox management activities may require a lot of time and effort, but you shouldn’t forget to check your spam and junk folders from time to time as well.
There might be important emails hiding in your Spam folder – an attractive business deal, an appreciation from a customer, or an urgent request.
A Spam folder is a designated folder where all your unwanted or junk emails are stored. Some email clients automatically mark emails as spam and add them to this folder. You can also manually report emails as spam to avoid receiving them in the future.
Sometimes, it may happen that an important email accidentally ends up in your Spam folders. So, to avoid jeopardizing your business performance and communication, make sure that you haven’t left anything valuable unanswered in these sections.
21. Reply All: Think Before You Use This Option
When you reply to an email that’s sent to a larger number of people, before hitting the reply-all button, think about the people who actually need to see your reply:
Is the reply relevant for everyone? Who benefits from your message?
Many people tend to use reply-all by default, without even thinking about reducing the number of recipients. However, the reckless use of this option may imply some problematic situations for your business. For example, if the manager has asked team members to share their salary details, replying to everyone will disclose confidential information to others.
By doing so, you may expose sensitive information to a larger number of people than needed. On the other hand, you may even annoy other recipients by sending them emails that have nothing to do with them.
22. Keep Your Replies Clear & Concise
Drafting clear and concise replies is considered one of the top email management best practices at work. If your reply uses a lot of difficult words or is full of technical jargon, you may want to rewrite your email body.
Just like you try to follow a set of email management tips to minimize your own time spent on handling emails, you should try to make other people’s life easier by sharing easy-to-read emails.
Your customers, business clients, partners, or other key stakeholders will be more likely to appreciate clear and precise emails without unnecessary digressions and redundant information. After all, no one wants to receive a complex reply that seems more like a puzzle.
This approach will also help you increase your email open rates and get faster responses. Moreover, this will not only lead to faster and simplified communication but also increase your overall efficiency.
23. Double-Check Your Grammar, Style, and Orthography
We understand you are always in a hurry and have a busy schedule. No matter how much you want to save your time, try not to hit send after writing the last word in your email.
While nobody expects that you re-read a simple email 20 times, you should pay attention to what you write and how. A well-written and grammatically correct email sent a little late than expected is still better than a poorly written email shared within seconds.
So, don’t be lazy: proofread and edit your lengthy emails before sending them. You may need a couple of extra minutes to do so, but it will certainly help your brand’s reputation. You can use an online tool like Grammarly to avoid grammatical blunders.
Not only can messy emails be challenging to read, but they can also make you seem unreliable and careless. And you don’t want to leave that impression on your associates.
Besides, you should also pay special attention to the tone of your email. No matter what topic or problem you’re addressing, make sure not to appear angry, passive-aggressive, or frustrated. Stay in control of your personal emotions and stick to your business values and communication policies.
24. Start Your Emails With the Most Important Points & Questions
We all know that reading a lengthy email may make us lose focus before we reach its end. And this is especially true if we have to handle a large number of emails at once.
For effectively managing your emails, do not place your major concerns at the very end of your email. The chances are that the reader won’t pay enough attention to your questions or requests.
Consequently, you may end up receiving a reply that doesn’t address the issue exposed in your email. Or worse, it may only address the issue partially, leading to more confusion.
Make sure the receiver clearly sees what your priorities are and what questions you need them to answer. Skip the lengthy introductions and, instead, get to the point as soon as possible. You can also use the formatting options that will help your main questions/pointers stand out from the rest of your email.
25. Skip Lengthy Emails & Arrange a Call/Meeting Instead
While email is a great platform for formal communications, you can always consider other channels. If you know it may take you a lot of time to write and proofread an email, you may as well communicate your concerns via phone, or simply arrange a meeting.
This way, not only will you save your own time and energy, but you’ll also speed up the communication process by taking the other party’s feedback in real-time.
Even if you cannot organize a live meeting due to the nature of your business (which may include long-distance communication), you can always arrange a conference call or a quick video call, depending on your business needs.
Consistency Makes Email Management Tips Work
As you can see, there is a diversity of tips that you can rely on to become better at organizing your inbox. By choosing the right combination of email management tips and tricks, you can save time, optimize your communication, and save your brand’s reputation.
In addition to investing in a reliable email management system, you should limit and monitor your time spent on email. Avoid opening irrelevant emails, unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters, check your Spam folder often, and add a dose of personalization to every message.
Before you hit the send button, make sure you draft an eye-catching yet concise subject line. Check for any grammatical mistakes and keep the language jargon-free. Now, you are ready to reach inbox zero!
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