Most individuals have a love-hate relationship with their electronic mail inbox. On the one hand, electronic mail might be extremely helpful — whether or not you make progress with a shopper, changing a gathering with a (rather more environment friendly) electronic mail thread, or receiving an invite to a enjoyable social gathering.
Then again, although, electronic mail might be overwhelming — particularly should you lose management. And boy is it straightforward to lose management. Many people get bombarded by new emails regularly, and it is irritating to know that we is likely to be lacking out on the actually essential stuff amid the flood of much less pertinent stuff.
Fortunately, there are numerous instruments and free apps for startups that may assist us get extra organized. On this submit, we’ll undergo learn how to greatest set up your electronic mail and recommend some instruments to make the method simpler.
Methods to Manage Your Electronic mail
Earlier than we dive into the instruments that may enable you to take management of your inbox, let’s go over a number of the fundamental greatest practices that may enable you to keep electronic mail group as a lot as doable. Listed below are our three golden guidelines:
- Eliminate the outdated electronic mail you do not want. I nonetheless have electronic mail invites to occasions from 2006, most of which I by no means even attended. Do I would like them? No. Ought to I delete them? Sure. Clear your inbox of something however new emails and former ones that you will completely have to confer with later.
- Unsubscribe. Significantly. All of us have these I-swear-you‘re-going-to-read-this-newsletter-really-just-as-soon-as-I-have-a-minute emails. You’re not going to learn them — eliminate them. A number of the instruments under will enable you to do that in bulk.
- Mix a number of electronic mail accounts. I‘m an enormous believer in preserving work and private electronic mail separate — however generally, having to toggle between the 2 isn’t conducive to staying organized. A number of the instruments under may also help you consolidate totally different electronic mail addresses — Mail and iCal on Mac gadgets, for instance, can help you streamline a number of accounts in a single place.
Greatest Strategy to Manage Electronic mail
Now that we’ve lined some electronic mail organizing fundamentals, let’s dig into learn how to greatest go in regards to the job.
1. Use Labels and Folders
You may’t merely delete your entire emails so one straightforward solution to get organized is to create labels and folders for the essential issues. Storing emails in folders retains them out of your most important inbox and cuts down on litter.
You may title these folders one thing like “wants response ASAP” or after a selected venture should you’re getting a bunch of emails associated to 1 matter. Labels are one other organizational software you may deploy. Every mail supplier will differ barely but when utilizing Gmail, labels operate like sticky notes and don’t transfer emails out of your inbox like folders do. As a substitute, you’d search the label title and to view all the emails with that exact label.
2. Star or Flag Necessary Emails
Most electronic mail suppliers will include a star or flag (or each) characteristic that can allow you to mark emails you’d like to come back again to later. Marking emails with a flag or star doesn’t take away them out of your inbox, however can rapidly offer you a visible illustration of what emails to concentrate on subsequent.
In Gmail, merely open your inbox and click on the star on the left-hand facet of the message. For those who’d prefer to see your entire starred emails, click on “Starred” from the left-hand menu just like the photograph under.
In Outlook, instead of stars, you can flag an email. Go to your inbox and hit the flag column next to the message you’d like to flag. From there, you’ll have the option to set a due date for yourself to follow up.
3. Set Up Filters
There will always be a steady stream of new emails coming into your inbox, no matter how well you organize them. Applying filters can help you manage new emails as they come in. Filters are rules you can apply to incoming messages that will automatically send them to the correct folder, add the correct label, archive, or delete them.
Setting filters up can be complicated with other email providers, but for Gmail users it’s pretty straightforward. To create a new filter in Gmail:
- Go to your inbox
- In the search box at the top, click Show search options.
- Enter your search criteria. If you want to check that your search worked correctly, see what emails show up by clicking Search.
- At the bottom of the search window, click Create filter.
- Choose what you’d like the filter to do.
- Click Create filter.
For Outlook users, you can find step-by-step instructions for creating email rules here.
4. Use the Archive Feature
Sometimes you may have emails that are unimportant or not as urgent as others, but also not ready to be deleted. For these, you can use an archive feature that removes them from your inbox and store it for later.
For example, you can archive an email for a future task. Once you’re ready to complete it, you can pull the email up, complete the task, and delete it when finished.
5. Regularly Clean Out Your Inbox
We spring clean and declutter our homes regularly and the same should go for your email inbox. We’re inundated with emails daily and it’s easy to let it spin out of control — even when utilizing the organizing hacks above.
That’s why it’s important to declutter your inbox regularly so that it doesn’t become so overwhelming. Consider clearing out your inbox on a monthly or quarterly basis. For a more detailed checklist, check out our tips for managing your email inbox.
11 Tools for Organizing Your Email
Price: Free; Paid Versions Available
Ever wanted to know who opens your emails and when, how many
Another cool feature is the contact information sidebar that pops up when you open an email thread. It includes all the relevant information about the person you’re emailing, including past contact history (kind of like LinkedIn’s “relationship tab” function), social media content, mutual connections, and so on. Soon, the extension will let you schedule emails to send later.
The free version of Sales Hub provides email open notifications — as well as the ability to schedule emails to be sent later, and a few other functionalities. For unlimited open-and-click notifications (and a slew of other upgraded functions), you can upgrade to Starter for $45 per month.
Price: Free; Paid Versions Available
Shift allows you to access and use all of your email accounts from one convenient desktop application. Not only that, but you can access tons of apps and extensions, including HubSpot Sales, Grammarly, Asana, WhatsApp, and many more.
Shift also has an excellent search function that works across all of your accounts, so you can quickly retrieve and revive conversations. The biggest benefit to using something like Shift is that all of your work and workflows are in one place. You can save a ton of time switching between apps and email accounts using this.
The first step to relieving your inbox from all that email is to unsubscribe from all the newsletters you’ve subscribed to over the years. But unsubscribing manually from tens, maybe hundreds of newsletters would take forever.
Enter Unroll.me, a free tool that lets you mass unsubscribe from all the newsletters you don’t read. You can either wipe the slate clean and unsubscribe from everything at once, or you can pick and choose.
Price: Free; Paid Versions Available
Here’s another simple but useful tool, this time for reminding you — and even your clients, if you want —to follow up on specific emails.
Here’s how it works: Compose an email, and then include [any time]@followupthen.com in the “Bcc,” “Cc,” or “To” fields of your email. The “
What happens to that email when you click “send” depends on where you put that @followupthen.com email address:
- Bcc: You’ll get a follow-up regarding the email (without bothering the original recipient).
- Cc: The tool will schedule a reminder for you and the recipient.
- To: The tool will send an email to your future self.
Here’s a video that explains the tool in more detail:
It works for every email client, and it’s free for up to 50 follow-ups per month. You can increase the number of follow-ups and add features like calendar integration for teams for $4 per month, per user.
IFTTT, short for “If This Then That,” is an amazing productivity tool that helps you connect the apps and devices you use every day with “if this, then that” statements — which they call “recipes.”
When it comes to inbox productivity, IFTTT can do wonders for automating some of the more tedious, manual tasks. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Get a text message when a specific person emails you.
- Send email attachments to Dropbox.
- Save starred emails to Evernote.
- Schedule reminders tomorrow for the emails you star in your inbox today.
- Add “receipt” or “order” emails to a Google spreadsheet.
- Track your work hours by adding an entry into a Google spreadsheet every time you arrive at or leave your office.
- Turn emails into Trello cards.
6. Gmail “Special Stars”
I couldn’t write a blog post about inbox organization without including my go-to strategy for getting to — and maintaining — inbox zero. This tool isn‘t an add-on; it’s a methodology developed by Andreas Klinger. It makes use of two, built-in options in Gmail: “particular stars” (a barely fancier labeling system than Gmail labels) and a number of inboxes. Since writing that submit final yr, many individuals have instructed me it is modified the way in which they use electronic mail and has made their lives a lot simpler. I extremely suggest it.
There’s only one,
Value: Free; Paid Variations Accessible
Sortd is mainly a cleaner model of the Gmail Particular Stars methodology I described above, in that you simply don‘t have to star, label, or mark your emails in any approach. But it surely does work proper in Gmail: It’s what their staff calls a “Good Pores and skin for Gmail,” which means that it lives proper inside your Gmail inbox so you do not have to depart the app in any respect.
What it does do is repair the issue of essential emails getting misplaced under the fold — most significantly, by increasing your inbox into a versatile set of lists, organized cleanly into columns. This enables your emails, to-do lists, and priorities to reside collectively in a single place, and allows you to simply drag-and-drop emails from column to column.
HubSpot’s former VP of Advertising Meghan Keaney Anderson is an enormous fan of
That is what Anderson’s inbox seems to be like now that she makes use of Sortd:
“What’s particularly good is
One other benefit to
Value: Begins at $7/Month; Premium Choices Accessible
For those who’re trying to automate prioritizing every electronic mail because it is available in, chances are you’ll need to give SaneBox a strive. There‘s nothing to put in right here: Mainly, it really works with any electronic mail shopper to create new folders like SaneLater and SaneNews. When a brand new electronic mail comes into your inbox, SaneBox rapidly analyzes it to find out how essential it’s. This evaluation relies in your previous interplay together with your inbox. If SaneBox finds the brand new electronic mail essential, it’ll maintain it in your inbox. If not, it will ship it to a type of folders.
Later, you will get a digest of the emails that have been despatched to these three folders so you may resolve whether or not any of them want your consideration when you could have the time. Over time, you “prepare” SaneBox to filter sure forms of emails into every of those folders.
SaneBlackHole is a fourth folder that’ll enable you to delete emails and unsubscribe from them in a single fell swoop. Whenever you manually drag an electronic mail into your SaneBlackHole folder, it will delete the e-mail and unsubscribe from the supply routinely.
There are different cool options in right here too, just like the “attachments” characteristic that routinely sends all electronic mail attachments right into a Dropbox folder.
9. Checker Plus
Checker Plus is a Chrome extension for Gmail that helps you handle a number of Gmail accounts directly so that you don‘t need to flip by a number of inboxes. One of many most important options is on the spot electronic mail notifications even when Gmail isn’t open. So should you‘re a fan of notifications, you then’ll like this one.
With out opening Gmail in your browser, Checker Plus provides you with desktop notifications once you get a brand new electronic mail, together with the choice to learn, hearken to, or delete emails.
I‘m an enormous fan of the extension’s voice notification characteristic. If I get an electronic mail whereas I‘m busy cooking dinner or one thing, I can select to have the extension learn the e-mail out loud to me, even when Gmail isn’t open. (Simply bear in mind to close this off once you head into the workplace.)
Value: Free; Paid Variations Accessible
There are different electronic mail shoppers on the market, however Mailbird manages to face out.
Whereas it solely works for Home windows customers, this electronic mail shopper unifies your inbox together with your apps by rolling your electronic mail and all of your calendar, job, and messaging apps into an all-in-one interface. And it is a easy consumer interface, which you’ll be able to customise in numerous colours and layouts.
Here is an instance of what one structure seems to be like with electronic mail and WhatsApp integration:
Mailbird works for Home windows customers on desktop and cell. The Lite model is free, however if you need different, extra superior functionalities — like the power to “snooze” your electronic mail — you then’ll need to get the paid model for $3.25/consumer/month.
Value: Begins at $47.88/yr
Whereas Outlook doesn‘t have almost as many group instruments as different electronic mail shoppers, right here’s one for Outlook customers solely that’ll enable you to spend much less time submitting your electronic mail. SimplyFile provides a toolbar (or “ribbon tab”) to your inbox, with totally different, customizable information, which is well accessible so you may file new emails rapidly.
When an electronic mail is available in, merely drag it into the suitable folder. You may set up each messages you‘re receiving in your inbox, in addition to messages you’re sending — which you’ll be able to file as you ship them.
Take Management of Your Inbox
Able to get began? Nice. Begin exploring these instruments, and get that inbox organized — as soon as and for all.
Editor’s be aware: This text was initially printed in October 2017 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.