5 Tools to Finally Take Control of Your Email
If you’re like me, then you dread checking things like RescueTime to see just how much of your life is spent in your inbox every day.
Hours and hours of time spent on email is the norm for many folks these days, as email remains the primary form of business and personal communication. That’s why the ability to cut down on this time is not only important, it’s essential for staying sane. (Sorry Gmail, but I can only look at my inbox for so long before I start to hate it.)
Below is my list of five incredibly useful tools that can turn you into an email ninja, helping you manage and clear out your inbox in no time.
Let’s get started!
For those of you sick of typing out the same responses over, and over, and over again, TextExpander “saves your fingers and your keyboard, expanding custom keyboard shortcuts into frequently-used text and pictures.”
Essentially, you can use TextExpander to cut down on those FAQs that you receive on a daily basis by setting up shortcuts that create pre-made responses.
If you find co-workers asking a similar technical question repeatedly (IT people, you listening?), this can result in you wasting a lot of time giving the exact same responses.
With TextExpander, you can get some of those hours back.
2.) Gmail Labs
This one seems like a no-brainer, and it is, yet I still find many folks that don’t have some of the most productivity-oriented apps enabled in Labs.
At the very least, be sure to enable or turn on the following features:
- Send and Archive: archives any emails you respond to, clearing out your inbox faster
- Auto-advance: automatically sends you to the next message as soon as you respond to something
- Background Send: keeps your emails going through even as you’re doing other stuff
These seemingly small tweaks will turn your Gmail-based inbox into a productivity machine, as these little bits of time add up over a very long period.
Although Yesware positions itself as “email for salespeople,” it has a ton of great tools that are perfect for the rest of us.
The ability to track your emails with far more detail, as well as being able to create templates for your often-sent emails, is an incredible benefit to have — even if you aren’t using it for sales.
If you are someone who does freelancing work or are in any way associated with the marketing & sales department of your company, I highly advise checking out Yesware, as the stats included are most relevant to you.
If you just use email for “personal” use, remember that email is still the way major decisions get made these days (jobs won’t get back to you with a “Tweet”), so having pertinent information on the emails you send out can still be incredibly useful.
4.) FollowUp.cc + TheEmailGa.me
Although these are two separate tools, I couldn’t live without them being together!
First things first, The Email Game allows you to quickly get through a massive inbox by turning your responses into a “game,” tracking your time and setting goals for response productivity. (Sounds goofy, but it works!)
The problem is, responding so fast can affect how well you remember to follow up, so I use FollowUp.cc to help me remember when to follow up and with whom.
Just like you can forget to respond to emails, you sometimes might forget about an important message you sent out because it can easily get lost in the shuffle. It’s not in bad taste to follow up at least once, and FollowUp.cc allows you to schedule a set time (with a reminder) in order to make sure you get it done.
A fantastic duo to whirlwind through your busy inbox!
5.) Help Scout
Disclaimer: I work for Help Scout.
If email for teams has ever been something that you’ve struggled with, allow me to introduce you to Help Scout. Help Scout is the invisible help desk software that gets you away from shared personal inboxes and lets teams respond from an easy-to-organize dashboard.
When trying to manage a single inbox with a team, things are bound to slip through the cracks as team members open emails but don’t respond, archive messages without replies, or reply to messages that have already been resolved.
With Help Scout, you can see full conversation histories, see which team members are replying or have already replied, and even see notes that only your team can see so you have the most pertinent information at hand when responding. For teams doing email support, it solves amassive headache.
Your turn, now I’d love to hear from you. What email tools & apps do you use to get your email under control?
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the comments!