Email like it or not is a big problem for most entrepreneurs. Part of the problem is most entrepreneurs don’t realize how big of a problem this is. Let me ask you this how much time does it take you each day to open, sort, and respond to emails every day? Now granted you have to respond to some emails but how much time are you wasting trying to sort and sift through other emails to get to the ones you need to respond to? According to the late Chet Holmes if you spend just 15 minutes a day sorting, sifting, deleting and searching for important emails or documents you waste 97 hours per year.
That’s about six weeks, over a month of wasted time each. Business Insider says, email might be making American worker less productive. There was a survey by Reuters found US workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking email, so I ‘m sure it’s safe to say most people spend at least 15-minutes of that sorting, sifting and deleting.
So here is how to supercharge your productivity and get 97 hours of your time back with these 9 Gmail strategies to increase your productivity
Step 1: Do This If You Have Thousands Of Emails In Your Inbox!
Some of my clients would love to get control of their inbox but are just terrified when faced with the challenge of trying to get all of their emails they already have in their inbox sorted out. So here is the resources I recommend you use.
Instead of trying to manage this task yourself you can use this free service to help you get it in control.
Step 2: Archive or Delete Anything That Doesn’t Require Action
Your inbox should be a place where only emails that have not be sorted. When you wake up in the morning, you should be able to look at your inbox and there as a sort of to-do list; everything there that isn’t unread should be sorted into different inboxes like: “To Do”, “Waiting For” & “Important”
If there is no action item attached to an email, you should archive or delete it.
If you believe the email contains information that may be useful to you in the future, archive it. If not, delete it.
However, you certainly don’t need to be too delete-happy; Gmail gives you gobs of space, so you can safely archive most of what you get without running into space concerns. You can always search by email, topic or keyword.
[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=”Archive immediately“]
Formerly an experimental Labs feature, Send and Archive was so popular it’s now built into the Gmail interface.
All you do is go into settings, click “Show Send & Archive Button in Reply,” and the next time you reply to a message, you can archive that conversation right away:
It’s a simple feature, but one that can do wonders for cleaning up your inbox and keeping things straight.
Step 3: Create Filters to Deal With Unwanted Messages
Have you ever had a series of emails start hitting your inbox that you didn’t necessarily want to get rid of, but you didn’t want to see either?
Emails from sites like Amazon, Digital Juice and other sites with lots of deals are useful, but I don’t want to see them in my inbox. I’d rather have them go straight to a nice little folder where I can view them later if I’m so inclined.
Filters allow you do make this possible. Fortunately, Gmail’s filtering capabilities are quite powerful.
Durring and episode of Technology Tuesday I show you how to setup filters in this video:
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You can filter messages based on the sender, the email it’s addressed to (useful if you forward multiple accounts into one inbox), the subject, words the message does or doesn’t have, and whether it has an attachment. Once you’ve chosen your filtering criteria, you can instruct Gmail to do almost anything you could so manually with the message: auto-archive it, mark it read, label it, delete it, etc.
Step 4: Label Emails You Keep
All those emails you delete can be safely forgotten, but what about ones you archive? It’s true that Gmail’s search capabilities are very powerful, making it easy to find an old email by searching.
However, it’s a good idea to label all the emails you’re planning on keeping. Similar to using folders to separate papers for each of your clients, labeling emails gives you the ability to browse through all the emails in a certain category.
Having labels also gives peace of mind. It lets you divide emails up into the separate and distinct parts of your life, and it gives you a good picture of what’s going on in each of those parts every time you look at your inbox.
If one part of your life needs attention, you can simply go into the corresponding label and see only emails pertaining to it. For this reason, I’d also suggest giving each label a separate color.
If you don’t know how to create labels, here’s a quick rundown:
- – Click the Labels dropdown menu and select Manage Labels.
- – You’ll see a list of your labels now. Click Create New Label.
- – Name the label.
- – Now you can select emails and use the Labels dropdown to apply your new labels.
Once you’ve got your basic label structure laid out, you can get really fancy and start creating nested labels. I do this for all the marketing and promotional emails I get from different marketers. I have a “Marketers / Swipe” label now, and I’ll create a label for each marketer’s name and nest it under this category.
Nested labels might be a good strategy for your client or project related email as well. You can have a main label with your client’s name, and then create sub-labels for each person in their company. Do whatever works for you.
Keep in mind that labels don’t work the same way folders do in Outlook. Gmail doesn’t actually create a true hierarchical structure for your emails – it’s searching capabilities make that unnecessary.
Labels are as they are named – they’re more akin to sticking different colored sticky notes on paper rather than shoving it in different folders. Because of this, you can apply multiple labels to an email if you’d like.
[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=”Color Code Labels“]
Labeling your messages is a great way to stay organized, but color-coding those labels simplifies it even more. Create labels for work, school, home, family, financials and other important categories each with an identifiable color.
How to Deal With Gmail’s New Tabbed Interface
Gmail has rolled out an inbox feature – a tabbed interface.
Basically, Gmail thinks they need to organize your inbox for you. To be more productive you need to organize your inbox in a way that works for you and saves you time. You need it organized so that you know what you need to see in one quick glance. This will save you save time.
Step 5: Play around with Google Labs
Google labs are straight up awesome. Spend 20 minutes rooting around Google Gmail Labs (Gmail Settings>Labs tab) – you won’t be disappointed. Google Labs, offers a slew of experimental features that can improve your email productivity, organization, and workflow.
Some of the more popular Google Labs allow you to send canned responses, preview Google Maps data, view multiple inboxes at one, or even have a preview pane right in your email.
Definitely, consider enabling the following Gmail Labs:
- Canned Responses
- Default “Reply to All”
- Multiple Inboxes
To activate a selected Gmail lab click “Enable” on the Lab(s) you like, hit “Save,” and your new feature is ready to use.
Step 6: Enable the “Mark as Read” Button in Google Labs
These quick little tips that can save you lots of time over the long run.
Even with a good set of filters, you’ll sometimes get emails that you want to keep archived, but don’t actually want to read. You could just archive them right away, but leaving them unread will result in your All Mail folder showing unread messages.
The Mark as Read Labs feature helps you handle this with ease. Instead of having to open an email in order to have it marked as read, you can simply select it and hit the button. Boom! message marked as read. To enable the Marked as Read button:
- Click the gear icon in the top-right corner and go to Labs.
- Scroll down to the Mark as Read Button entry and enable it.
- Check out some of the other Labs features; a lot of them are pretty awesome.
- Click Save Changes.
Step 7: Save yourself with undo send
Undo send is the best Gmail feature I’ve come across to date.
Ever sent an email only to realize you included the wrong date, had a misspelling or sent it to the wrong person -right as you click send? Undo send gives you up to 30 seconds of a grace period to change your mind.
Undo Send recalls messages you send with just the click of a button. You can even change the amount of time you have to recall them (though be careful: the max is only 30 seconds).
Step 8: Use multiple accounts at once
If you have multiple Gmail accounts to your name, or you manage a few aliases for your company, you can easily keep track of them all from one central Gmail hub.
To enable multiple accounts, navigate to Settings> Accounts> Import, and click on “Add Another Email You Own.”
You’ll be prompted to enter the other account, then all you need to do is open that account, find the confirmation email and click the link inside. You’ll then be able to send and receive emails from multiple accounts in one place.
Step 9: Create filter-friendly email addresses
Signing up for a new cooking class, but don’t want the constant emails to fill up your inbox? When registering, give them a filter-friendly email address by simply using the plus sign:
e.g.: [email protected]
To avoid inbox clutter, and organize better go into your filters, and add a new filter based on this “to” address.