You get into work, you have a plan to attack your day, you open your inbox, and the next thing you know an hour has passed by and you are still caught up in your email. We’ve all been there; it is easy to let a day slip by and all you did was work in your email.
Gmail has some simple tricks you can adopt that will help you get in and out of your email quicker, so you can focus your day away from your inbox. Here are some we recommend you start using:
You probably have multiple inboxes — work, personal, and maybe one or two you monitor for your executive. Flipping between inboxes and the type of work you are doing can affect the efficiency of your workflow. Making a change as simple as putting a different theme onto each inbox can help you mentally separate your work.
Differentiating themes will give you an immediate visual for which inbox you are in. You won’t waste time trying to figure out which email you have open or composing a new email in the wrong inbox.
(Easy how-to instructions found here.)
Integrate Zoom Into Your Calendar
No more copy and paste when setting up conference calls. If you have Zoom (or your conference-call tool) integrated into your Gmail calendar, you can add a Zoom call to your meeting with a simple button click. (Instead of copying and pasting all of those crazy-long instructions.)
You probably have those relationships where you have become so close that you can finish each other’s sentences. You and your inbox may be closer than you’ve noticed!
Enable “Smart Replies” in your inbox and watch Gmail finish your sentences for you. Gmail utilizes AI to suggest ways to finish what you are typing as you type it — and if you like what it suggests, simply press your “Tab” button and watch Gmail complete your sentence for you. Making use of these smart replies will speed up your email responses and get you onto other tasks faster.
Take this one step further and start making and using Gmail’s Canned Responses. Canned Responses are basically email templates you can create and use over and over to respond to emails in your inbox. The template can be plug-and-play or set up for easy customization.
As you work through your email, pay attention to the types of emails and responses you are often using — are any of these good scenarios to establish a standard template, rather than re-composing every time?
Here are some examples of emails you can “can”:
- Confirming you have received a request and are on the task
- Meeting requests
- Sharing your calendar
- Meeting agendas
- Reminder/Follow-up emails to check-in on action items someone else is owning
- Re-distributing work or delegating tasks
- Thank you emails
Do any of these resonate with your work? What other types of emails can you “can”? See Hubspot’s “60-second template guide” for more.
Adopt Archiving Emails
Deleting emails can be scary–it feels so permanent. If you have a fear of that delete button, you can quickly find yourself with a full inbox of emails you don’t really need, not right now anyways.
Gmail gives you the option to archive emails as easily as you would delete them. No long term commitment to a permanent disposal. You think you are done with this email, you don’t need it in your life anymore — but then you find yourself thinking of that email you remember reading…boy do you wish you could read it one more time, just one quick reference. No problem — you archived it! You can search for that email at any time.
Send and Archive
You’ve responded to an email, and your part is done. Later in the day you check back and see that email still there — did you actually respond to it? Now you are spending your time looking through the chain and verifying that you did what you did, and you eventually archive the email. If Gmail automatically archived that email chain right after you responded to it, you would have saved at least five minutes of clicks and re-reading through the chain.
Enable a “Send and Archive” button in your inbox and this button will put the thread out-of-sight and out-of-mind until you need it again. Think of all those minutes you saved future you from sifting through already-handled emails.
Mute a Thread
How many times have you been part of a group text that keeps going long past its value to you? Your phone just keeps buzzing and you don’t know how to leave the group. Group emails can feel the same way. Eventually, the thread gets to a point where you no longer need to be there.
Gmail offers the option to “mute” a thread from the conversation’s drop-down menu. This will prevent you from getting any more notifications and unread emails from a thread you don’t need to spend your time reading. You can still access the full thread, but no need to let it interrupt your day.
Built right into you inbox are so many tools that can help you to not spend your whole day in email. Start using these tricks and get out of your inbox!