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14 email productivity tips I use every day

I have written about how I have 100% control of my email┬áby using SaneBox. Now, I’ll let you know more about my email productivity tips, the exact methods I am using on a daily basis. I have 14 tips, but I won’t be writing about them in a chronological order, meaning that I’m not ranking them in any way. I use all of them, every single day, so to me, they are equally important and part of my email productivity habit.

1. I always prioritize actions

I look at every email to see if there’s an action involved. What should I do with it? I either reply to it right away (if it takes less than 2 minutes), or I’ll add it to my to-do list and I’ll do it later. Or, I’ll send it to Evernote as a reference, or if it’s not something I need to do, I’ll just delete it.

2. I have turned off notifications

I used to hear a sound when I received a new email. I used to see a number as well. It made me look. It made me forget what I was actually doing. It forced me to continue with email, when I really should have been doing something completely different.

3. I limit the length of replies

Writing long email is not something I’m doing anymore. Well, at least I try my best to limit the length of replies. The shorter replies won’t create a new response.

4. I am using filters

I started this blog post by writing about SaneBox. It’s how I apply filters for all my different blog accounts. My inbox is close to empty every day. I only receive email from the people I have whitelisted. Everything else will end up in the other mailboxes I’m using. I get between 200 and 300 email every single day, using SaneLater is a very important part of my email productivity tips.

5. I set a time to check and reply to all emails

It’s not the first thing I do when I get up in the morning. It’s not the last thing I do before I go to bed. I have to admit that it used to be like that, but that was a long time ago. Now, I’m only checking my email 3 times a day, and I have set a time to check it. This way, I’ll stay more productive when I’m working on something else.

6. I empty my inbox at the end of each day

I always empty my inbox before I leave the office. I use the actions I described above. I don’t want to think about my inbox when I’m at home. That’s why I need it to be empty. I have processed everything; they’re either in Evernote, waiting for me inside my to-do list, or I have replied or deleted them.

7. I use templates

TextExpander helps me adding the same text over and over again without writing the same words. I’m just using short cuts. And, everything is stored inside TextExpander. For instance, if someone sends me an email, asking to write a guest post for this blog, I’ll just use a short cut and send them the answer. The answer is no, but with more words, to let them know why. It makes me think about why the sent from my iPhone signature is a good thing.

9. I use a timer

I always use a timer when I manage my email. I use the pomodoro technique, and I manage my email in batches.

10. if I don’t read it, I unsubscribe

Now, I am using unroll.me to unsubscribe from all the newsletters I’m not reading. It sounds like a fast thing to do, but it takes time to delete hundreds of emails every single day.

11. I use shortcuts

I am using many different shortcuts. It saves time and makes it a lot easier to write, and reply to email.

12. Quick add to calendar and to-do list

I add every new event to my calendar and I add every new task to my to-do list immediately. I don’t do it later.

13. I save references to read later

I use Pocket to read interesting email and articles later. I save them to Pocket immediately.

14. I always close email when I’m done

Finally, when I’m done, I’m done. I close my email client.



10 responses to “14 email productivity tips I use every day”

  1. KeithH says:

    Great post, appreciate it!

  2. Jay Longley says:

    Great post. I use a lot of the same tools and techniques with IQTELL and Evernote at the centre of everything. Have you now replaced Sanebox with IQTELL or do they still serve different purposes for you?

  3. Jay Longley says:

    Do you not find that 25/5 is too short a time to really get into the flow of things? 52/17 has now been proposed as the ‘optimum’ work/rest ratio. I find it works before for me.

    • I haven’t tried 52/17, can you explain it? Is it work for 52 minutes and then 17 minutes break?

      I don’t do the long pause that often, sometimes, I work for 25 minutes, and then I start working almost right away without the 5 minute break, sometimes the break is just a couple of minutes.

      I work in office where I get interrupted all the time, I wouldn’t be able to work for 52 minutes without any interruptions. But, if I was working at home, or all alone, it might be something I could do.

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