How to Process Email Quickly and Efficiently
So you’ve reduced the number of emails you’re getting. That’s a start. Now we need a system to quickly process the emails left in our inbox.
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Here are some suggestions:
#1 Turn off email notifications on your computer and phone
To break the time-sucking habit of constantly checking your email, turn off all email notifications on your computer and phone.
Those random little “pings” are just conditioning you to check your email compulsively like a Pavlovian dog.
Moreover, email notifications distract us from focused, concentrated work.
#2 Use the five-sentence rule
Keep responses brief.
It saves time for both you and your recipient.
Entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki recommends the “five sentence rule” when writing emails:
“Proper email is a balance between politeness and succinctness,” he says. “Less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than five sentences wastes time.”
#3 Use canned responses
If you get emails that require the same sort of answer over and over, consider creating a canned response.
With just a click, your message will populate and be sent.
A quick google search will help you find out how to create a canned response for your specific email client.
#4 Use text expanders
Related to canned responses, consider getting a text expander.
Text expander programs allow you to assign predefined keystrokes to complete words and phrases.
Whenever you type that keystroke in, the text expander will type out the complete word or phrase.
Here are some text expander programs for the various operating systems out there:
PhraseExpress (Windows 7)
Texter (All other versions of Windows)
#5 Use vacation responders
To reduce the amount of email that clogs up your inbox while you’re on vacation, make sure to use a vacation responder.
That way people won’t keep emailing you again and again because they think you’re around and just not responding.
#6 Use an email processing tool
If you’re still having trouble processing your emails, consider using a web app to help you get through them quickly and painlessly.
If you use Gmail, give their Priority Inbox feature a whirl.
When you turn it on, Gmail starts watching how you answer and process your email.
Based on your behavior within the inbox, Gmail will start sorting your email automatically for you, putting your important stuff on top and not so important stuff on the bottom.
It takes some time for Priority Inbox to really work its magic, so be patient in the beginning.