We were in a discussion at ProProfs about utilizing working hours productively, and that’s when one of the team members mentioned that he spends about 40% of his time checking and managing emails. This was actually alarming, as 40% is a significant amount of time. That’s when we realized that as an organization, we need to work on the overall email management skills if we want to boost productivity levels.
In fact, this session was an eye-opener and helped us identify the real challenges. As we dug deep, we came across quite exciting stats, and it dawned on us that we could do a blog on it. Here’s our brainstormed, research-backed, and hopefully useful blog on email management tips!
When asked from over 200 employees at our organization, how much time they were spending on email, the most common response was “Every now and then.” Isn’t it surprising?
This implies 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. Nothing unusual as emails are the most preferred form of communication, and they are least intrusive in nature, unlike phone calls.
With apparently, every American worker receiving an average of 126 emails a day, this tool is turning out to be counter-productive. But is it the problem with the tool or the way we are managing it?
The real question is, just how much time does it take to review or even go through all these emails?
It could be an hour or probably the entire first half of the day.
As a business owner, 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; there's certainly a good chunk of emails that you need to share with your clients to manage and track everything.
This is one of the reasons why we see so many experts writing email management tips online. But how about updating yourself with those that are trending right now and that worked for us at ProProfs to boost our productivity.
To help you get the most out of your inbox management, we’ve created the ultimate list of email management tips that are proven to improve the way your business handles your electronic correspondence.
So, read on to find out how to manage emails and what email management precisely represents for your business.
Table of Contents
The Essential Email Management Tips
Email Management Best Practices I: How To Manage Emails Time-Efficiently?
What is Email Management?
Simply put, email management represents the way your business handles both internal and external communication that happens via emails.
Now, while the best way to manage emails depends on diverse factors, what’s obviously necessary for all structures and organizations is to have a standardized and consistent email management system. In other words, it should be based on having reliable email management software, as well as well-defined standards in terms of email communication.
Accordingly, flawless email management is more than just (not) reading and replying. Having in mind that an office worker on average receives 126 emails a day, it’s extremely important for any business to have this way of communication worked-out and well-organized.
On the one hand, it’s about language, style, conciseness, and the way you make your message reflect your business values and culture.
On the other hand, it comprises different technical aspects, including the effective use of diverse email management services, customer service tools, help desk ticketing software, etc. Besides, it includes the maintenance of email servers, numerous email classifications, etc.
The Essential Email Management Tips
Email Management Best Practices I: How To Manage Emails Time-Efficiently?
In this section, we aim to explore the different email management best practices that will help you manage your inbox more efficiently and save you more time!
1. Limit the number of times you check your emails daily
Having in mind you have a limited number of working hours; you should pay attention not to spend too much time checking emails. Instead, determine several specific moments during your shift to check your inbox for new emails.
If you’re long enough on your work position, you may even be able to predict what times are critical in terms of the volume of received emails. Then, you may consider them when determining the optimal time for email checking.
This way, you won’t get into the trap of refreshing your browser over and over again, wasting the time you’d otherwise spend on something productive.
2. Shorten the average time you spend handling your emails
You must pay attention to the time you spend handling emails daily. Only that way, you can become aware of the time you spend on email management and realize if you’re using your time rationally. Based on the obtained information, you can try to work on shortening that time if you think you could perform better.
3. Deactivate email notifications
If you’re wondering how to limit the number of times you check your email during your work shift, notification deactivation may be a perfect thing to do.
This way, not only will you stop being tempted to check your inbox every time you hear or see a notification, but you’ll also be more focused on your other tasks, that are at least equally important.
You can also set notifications for email addresses and tasks that you don’t want to miss out on.
Of course, this is an option that you’re supposed to consider only if email checking is not the main task in your profile.
4. Use pre-made templates when replying to similar types of emails
This one 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 slightly adapt them to current circumstances before sending them.
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.
So, in case you end up using a customer service tool like help desk software, then creating pre-made templates would be a lot easier. For example, ProProfs Help Desk helps you create and send canned messages that help you avoid answering the same emails again and again.
5. Don’t postpone replying to an email if it takes you less than 60 seconds
But really! Postponing replies to demanding emails may have a reasonable justification. Still, 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.
6. Use automated replies to inform the email senders when you’re not available
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 a vacation or out of the office due to some unpredictable circumstances. This way, you’ll prevent misunderstandings and correspondents’ frustrations.
7. Do yourself a favor: unsubscribe from pointless newsletters that bring no value to you
This is definitely one of the most important recommendations among the email management tips that increase your time efficiency.
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.
8. Decide if you really need to read an email instantly based on its subject/topic.
Sometimes, you may be able to realize if an email needs an instant answer by simply checking the senders’ name and email topic. In a large number of cases, this is a convenient method for you to define your top priority emails and handle them first.
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.
Email Management Best Practices II: The Essential Response Strategies
In this section of email management best practices, we aim to cover those that will help your employees and you to send responses faster. In a nutshell, you’ll be able to respond faster to the emails and become more productive.
1. Introduce no-reply policy for certain types of emails
In some cases, no reply is a pretty clear reply as well. However, be sure to use this policy only for the types of emails that won’t jeopardize your business reputation and performance. For instance, you can leave a correspondent without a reply if:
- It seems like a circular email that isn’t relevant for your business,
- The sender asks you to reply only if you’re interested in collaboration, etc.
However, be careful not to misuse this option. This especially refers to your communication with your stakeholders, particularly if they need you to address some major, time-sensitive concerns.
2. Use short convenient replies that will let senders know you’ve read their emails
The use of email management software and handy email management services makes it pretty easy for you to provide quick replies to your correspondents. So, if you have no time to address their 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.
3. 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 this way.
So make sure to name your email in a clear and precise way that lets the recipient understand what the content is about.
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.
4. Stop sending emails that seem cold and automated
This is one of the email management tips that are pretty popular yet somewhat underrated. Even though you can find a lot of resources explaining the importance of your email tone and style, a lot of people still aren’t aware of its role and effects.
To make your emails more pleasant to read, you should work on their personalization. Some of the simplest ways to personalize your emails and make them more engaging are:
- Being friendly and polite, making sure to match your tone with your business culture and values;
- Starting your email with a personalized salutation (address your correspondent by their name);
- Using your correspondent’s name in the body of your email;
- Making your email subject line seem like a call-to-action, etc.
5. Make sure to address all the points mentioned in the senders’ emails and vice versa
To make sure to establish impeccable email communication, you shouldn’t only pay attention to technical aspects and your tone, but also the information that you provide. 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.
- Check not to repeat the same question if your correspondent has already provided an answer.
6. Double-check if you’ve attached the right documents
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 mentioned 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.
7. Don’t forget to check your spam and junk folders occasionally
We know that your regular 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.
Sometimes, it may happen that an important email accidentally ends up in some of these folders. So, to avoid jeopardizing your business performance and communication, make sure that you haven’t left anything valuable unanswered in these sections.
8. Reply all: Do you need to 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:
Who is it relevant for? 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. On the one hand, you may expose sensitive information to a larger number of people than needed. On the other hand, you may annoy other recipients by sending them emails that have nothing to do with their businesses.
9. Keep your replies clear and concise
Just like you try to follow a set of useful email management tips to minimize your own time spent on handling emails, you should try to help your correspondents improve their email management as well. And if you think you’re not supposed to be the one to think about your correspondents’ time, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Your associates will be more likely to appreciate clear and precise emails without unnecessary digressions and redundant information. So, owing to this approach, you may start receiving their replies faster than you expect. And this will lead not only to faster and simplified communication but also to an increase in your overall efficiency.
10. Double-check your grammar, style, and orthography
As much as you want to save your time, try not to hit send as soon as you write 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.
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 you prevent from negatively surprising your correspondents and, therefore, jeopardizing your business reputation.
Not only may the messy emails full of errors 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 companies values and communication policies.
11. Start your emails with the most important points and 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.
So, if you 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.
Accordingly, to be sure that your correspondent clearly sees what your priorities are and what questions you need them to answer, skip the lengthy introductions. Instead, get to the point as soon as possible. You can also use the formatting options that will help your main questions stand out from the rest of your email.
12. Instead of sending lengthy emails, make a phone call or organize a meeting
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 hold a meeting.
This way, not only will you save your own time and energy, but you’ll also speed up the communication process by having 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 Skype conference, depending on your business needs.
Bonus Tips: What Is Inbox Management And How To Handle It?
The process of creating an effective email management system out of your email inbox is also known as inbox management. Apparently, the way your inbox looks may significantly impact your productivity and performance. So, to ensure that your email handling efficiency is at an optimal level, you should make your inbox a well-organized and easily-scannable place.
Now, what can you do to improve your inbox management?
- Use labels to improve the classification of your emails.
- Separate the emails for follow-up from the rest of your emails.
- If you frequently send emails to a specific group of correspondents, set up a group alias to avoid typing their addresses over and over again.
- Organize received emails by creating folders named with deadlines for replying, especially marking those that you can’t deal with instantly but still are priorities.
- Delete your old emails that have no use.
Summing Up: Persistency Makes The Email Management Tips Work
As you can see, there is a diversity of tips that you can rely on to achieve best practices in email management for your business. What’s in the essence of all the suggestions we made is to manage emails in a way that saves your time and optimizes your communication with your correspondents.
Apart from implementing a reliable email management software with convenient email management services, you should also make sure to determine the optimal amount of time you can invest into managing your emails. This is important if you want to enhance your email handling efficiency.
Remember that only if your email-checking daily routine doesn’t jeopardize your productivity and efficiency in other tasks, your email management system can be considered sustainable.
Now that we’ve covered all the essential measures and email management tips, let’s take a look at some of the frequently asked questions that might help you:
Q.1 What is Email Management?
Email management allows you to view all the emails that were created (and also received) by your employees and distributes them into different categories in a systematic way so that you do not end up spending way too much time on sorting them every day.
Q.2 What is the Best Email Management Software?
ProProfs Help Desk is one of the best email management software solutions that brings together all your customer-facing emails in one interface and divides them across different teams and departments. What’s more, it sends reminders to your support team members and others to respond back to emails with a solution within a defined deadline.
Q.3 How do I Keep my Emails Organized?
Use email management software to keep your emails organized. Not only will you be reminded to send a timely response but you will also save time as you can identify the spam emails and avoid spending time on them.
Q.4 What are the 5 Golden Rules of Effective Email Management?
The five golden rules of email management help you manage the incoming flow of emails efficiently and improve the overall productivity of the organization. These are:
- Always remember to check and empty your inbox every day
- Do not answer to the non-urgent emails and if anything, create a separate category for them to be found there and not in the main inbox
- Try to keep your email response short to save more time to browse other emails
- Look for the subjects that matter to you more - this will help you save more time
- Turn off the email notification so that you can avoid the distraction while working on other tasks
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