Does opening your inbox on a weekday morning send you straight to panic mode, before you’ve even had your coffee? Every day it’s the same old story – you open your inbox and it’s full of work messages, news notifications, promotional offers, brand newsletters, personal emails, and more. By the time you’ve handled them, you’ve lost precious focus time that could have been used towards tasks that actually matter.
While email is intended to streamline communication, it sometimes becomes a counter-productive tool when the inbox requires too much time to manage. Many emails are simply unnecessary and constantly distract us from the important tasks we need to get done.
In short, email can be extremely detrimental to our productivity if we let it. Here’s how to improve your email management skills with the help of several SaneBox features so your inbox doesn’t end up controlling you.
Batch process your messages
Our ethos at SaneBox revolves around the “batching” method, which means blocking off time in your calendar to power through your inbox. For example, you could batch process your email from 8-8:30 AM and 3-3:30 PM and then ignore it for the rest of the time. Studies have shown that “batchers” are more productive, less stressed, and maintain a higher state of contentment. We think that’s a pretty compelling argument against reacting and multitasking when it comes to email.
After you set aside time slots to go through emails, prioritize the important ones and ignore the rest. If you plan on receiving time-sensitive emails during the day, you can filter those into a separate folder so you see those as they come through. The whole idea behind batching is to not let email run your life – rather you choose the time that works best for you to deal with it.
Create template replies
If you look through your inbox, you’ll probably notice a trend in messages you reply to. They can usually be classified into categories (scheduling meetings, communicating with your boss, writing to clients, etc.) Instead of starting each new email from scratch, writing out a few templates you’ll use on a regular basis will save you loads of time when you’re actually responding.
Here are some instructions on how to create saved replies:
iPhone and iPad — Create an email template using the Notes app
Apple Mail — Creating reusable email templates in Apple Mail
Thunderbird — How to use email templates in Mozilla Thunderbird
Receive reminders to follow up
Since email is such an epidemic, it’s easy for messages to quickly get buried in people’s inboxes. However, it is possible to set up your inbox to receive reminders to follow up with SaneReminders.
Here are the ways you can use the reminder function:
- Get notified when people don’t reply to you. SaneReminders will notify you when an email you sent wasn’t responded to by a certain time.
- You want to defer processing an email by putting it back in your inbox at a certain time.
- Send a reminder to your future self to complete a task.
By using SaneReminders, you’ll never forget to follow up.
Send spam to the black hole
Everyone wishes they had the time and energy to go through their emails and unsubscribe from annoying marketing emails, unnecessary newsletters, spam, and more. However, sometimes the act of clicking unsubscribe sends a signal to the email sender that your email is active, which can put you on additional lists. This causes the number of unwanted emails to just keep going up.
SaneBox feature SaneBlackHole takes unsubscribing to a whole new level – every time you send an email to the black hole, future ones from the same sender will also be stored here and then eventually sent to the trash. That means those emails will never end up in your inbox ever again.
Send non-urgent emails to a folder you can check later
Sending non-urgent automatically moved from your inbox into another folder is super strategic in improving your email workflow. After all, if you never see an email until it’s time to act on it, you won’t be stressed by seeing the email! SaneLater helps put a stop to unwanted distractions by moving emails into your @SaneLater folder for you, which is available for viewing at any time right inside your email client. When you’re ready to respond, you can simply click on the folder or view the nonessential emails within your Daily Digest.
Snooze your emails until you’re ready to respond
Sometimes you’re simply not ready to deal with certain emails as soon as you receive them, but you know you still need to act on them in the future. Folders you can use to defer email until a future time are called SaneSnooze folders, and there are two popular folders called @SaneTomorrow and @SaneNextWeek that you can use to defer messages.
- @SaneTomorrow defers mail until tomorrow. Move mail to this folder, and we’ll pop it back into your inbox tomorrow. Between now and then, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
- @SaneNextWeek works the same way, but we’ll pop those messages back next Monday.
You can also create custom folders if you want to defer to a time other than tomorrow or next week, and you can specify when the email is moved back to your inbox.
Set your inbox to do-not-disturb mode
Ready to disconnect? Sometimes you need serious time away from email to go on vacation, work on an important project, or simply take a digital detox. SaneDoNotDisturb is perfect for silencing the noise of email.
This feature works by temporarily pausing new emails from appearing in your inbox, reducing email interruptions. When you turn the feature on, you’ll be free from distractions across anywhere you check email across all devices and platforms, including computers, phones, and tablets. When you’re ready, turn SaneDoNotDisturb off on your SaneBox dashboard, and all the email you received will be ready for you.
Which SaneBox features do you find most useful in managing your inbox? Let us know by tweeting us @SaneBox.