17 experts share their email productivity tips and tools
Check out 17 experts from various industries sharing their best email productivity tips and tools. Read more here.
James has five years' experience as a Content Marketer, bylines on Left Foot Forward, Submittable, and INOMICS, and a Master's in History. In his free time he likes to read, play guitar, and write for his personal blog.
Email productivity explanation
Our daily lives revolve around email, and the average professional sends 40 business-related emails each day. With all of these emails bombarding your inbox and needing to be written on a daily basis, it can be hard to stay productive.
But what exactly is email productivity? How can you stay productive while working on your emails?
At its root, email productivity means making sure that every email you receive is dealt with as efficiently as possible, by replying quickly, saving it for later when you have blocked out time to work on your messages, or simply deleting it.
On top of this, the messages you send need to be organized and dealt with productively.
This means not rewriting the same emails over and over again (but using message templates, for example), only sending the emails you really need to send, and making sure you write your emails in a way that saves you time and effort.
Email productivity tips and tools from experts
Thanks to the abundance of email productivity apps, add-ons, and extensions, keeping up with email has never been easier. It can, however, be a challenge to locate the needle in the haystack.
In order to help you get on track with your inbox, we’ve put together a list of the best email productivity tips and tools. Some of these may already be helping you out today.
“To assist manage your email routine, there are countless email productivity apps online. An email scheduler is one of the most widely used. I am using Mailbutler for this and other reasons.
You can regulate when emails are sent with this plugin. It enables the creation of emails that can be scheduled for delivery in two days or less.
If you can’t respond to an email right away, you can choose to schedule it to resurface at the top of your inbox a week later so it won’t get lost. Additionally, it notifies you if no one responds after a certain number of days.
Additionally, the built-in email client integration of Mailbutler is designed to simplify email management so you won’t need to navigate between apps.
Your emails will all be accessible from a single interface and connected to the appropriate projects, contacts, and tasks. Your inbox will never again be clogged thanks to your ability to quickly identify the folders that need to be synced.”
Vincent Amodio, Founder & CEO https://iconmedicalcenters.com/
Use canned responses with your most common answers
“If you often find yourself writing the same email response over and over again, save it in your email as a canned response.
You can do this in Gmail by going to Settings -> Advanced, and then enabling templates.
Once you have done that you can save and load templates by selecting the three vertical dots to the right of the bin button in your email window.
While creating your canned response, it’s important to write it in a way that it makes sense without any personalization.
While you probably will want to personalize your responses, it’s very easy to forget to do this. You, therefore, do not want to be in a situation where your response does not make sense just because you forgot to personalize it.
What is your favorite email tool?
I like using Shift to toggle between my email accounts. Shift makes it very clear which account I am on at any one time, so I do not accidentally send an email from the wrong account.”
Oli Baise, Managing Editor https://drinkycoffee.com/
Reduce the time spent responding to emails
“There should be a start time and an end time for each block of email time you schedule on your calendar. By doing this, you may cut down on the time you spend on email each day, increasing your productivity.
The Pomodoro Technique is a fantastic email productivity tip. Work through as much of your inbox as you can by using one 25-minute Pomodoro cycle every email time block.
The following time, any messages you missed will still be there if you still have them. To put the Pomodoro Technique into practice in your email inbox if you’re a beginner, consider an app like Pomodoro Timer, Focus To-Do, or Focus Keeper.”
Kavin Patel, Founder and CEO https://www.convrrt.com/
Google’s Snooze button for handling emails.
“The email inbox has morphed into a hybrid messaging platform and task list. Often, important emails will come through that cannot be ignored. But the moment they land in your inbox is not always the best time to be dealing with them.
This is why the Snooze Button is so valuable.
When I get an important email, I can snooze it for a later time and date so that I don’t forget about it.
Additionally, that snooze button can be used for sent emails. If I’m emailing an important client, I can send the email, then snooze that email for a 2 or 3-day follow-up. This will remind me in 2 or 3 days to follow up with this client if I did not hear from them first.”
Jeff Neal, Ops Manager, Critter Depot
“This productivity tool is my favorite because it allows you to access features and sections that would otherwise take many seconds with a single keystroke.
It may not appear to be much, but if you can learn these shortcuts, you might save a significant amount of time.
Nobody likes to memorize them, which is where KeyRocket comes in. KeyRocket tells you whenever you perform an operation that could have been simplified with a keyboard shortcut, allowing you to quickly and simply learn the optimal keys to increase your productivity.”
James Rehm, Chief Operating Officer at www.skuuudle.com
“Front is a consumer communication platform that merges email, applications, and other messages into one display.
It also aids in streamlining communication procedures. Users are able to assign letters to individual team members, start internal discussions, and sync work across other platforms such as Salesforce and Github.
Messages that fulfill certain criteria can trigger automatic actions.
It is possible to monitor conversations and receive real-time alerts when another user responds to a statement, as well as reminders, response templates and the option to follow conversations.
Analytics and reporting capabilities are also provided by Front, allowing users to see metrics for many categories, such as inboxes and user activity.”
James Crawford, Co-founder of Deal Drop.
Reduce back-and-forth emails
“Excessive back-and-forth emails can slow things down and take up a lot of time. Avoid this from happening by cutting to the chase whenever you are writing an email. Don’t include any unnecessary details that will confuse the reader and take the conversation in a completely different direction.
You also need to be assertive in the conversation. Instead of writing ‘I think maybe we should schedule the meeting this Friday’, write something like ‘It’d be best if we schedule the meeting this Friday’.
Your questions should be clear and not open-ended. Don’t write ‘hopefully that makes sense to you’ when trying to understand whether you and the recipient are on the same page. Simply write ‘let me know if you have any questions?’.
Also, remember to use the magic word ASAP. It adds a sense of urgency to the matter and stops the conversation from dragging on.
The tool for email productivity: Simplify Gmail
Simplify Gmail is a free browser extension developed by a former Google developer. It removes the clutter in the Gmail inbox and helps you focus on the things that matter.
One of the best features of Simplify Gmail is that it adds keyboard shortcuts to your email. You can navigate the email through arrow keys, use Enter to open a message and Escape to close it. Similarly, shortcuts such as Ctrl + A to select all and Ctrl + Z to undo also become available in your Gmail inbox.”
Elice Max, Co-Owner and Marketing Director of EMUCoupon
Get your inbox in order
“Why keep all of your computer files in one folder if you wouldn’t do the same with your emails?
Not all of your emails are equally important or require attention at the same time. Use folders to arrange your messages and sort them correctly, especially when deciding which messages require immediate action and which you can just refer to later.
There are many various approaches to inbox organization, so you might need to experiment before settling on one that works best for you. But a good place to begin is by setting up folders that arrange your inbox according to the time of day rather than the nature of the messages.
Keep unread communications that must be responded to right away in your inbox. Then make a folder for items that must be handled this week, another for items that must be handled this month or quarter, and an “FYI” folder for general messages you might need to see later.
Utilizing your inbox like a folder rather than just a catch-all for all emails is the key to keeping your emails organized. If you receive a new communication that doesn’t need to be responded to right away, file it away or delete it.
My favorite tool is Mailbutler
Mailbutler is a great software add-on for our business. I use Apple Mail, and the Apple Mail extension is the best feature of this app that I have used on a regular basis for the past three years; in fact, I cannot even imagine using Mail without it.
Mailbutler is a game changer for me as a small business owner since I have very significant needs for handling and monitoring my email. It transforms standard built-in software into a competitor for a complete Microsoft Exchange setup for a single user, at least in terms of the functionality that is offered.
My favorite feature of this tool is the ability to pre-schedule emails to go out at specific times throughout the day. The tracking of when the email is opened and when any links inside the email are clicked on is particularly helpful.
It is also helpful to be able to add a follow-up task because this helps to ensure that one does not lose sight of key conversations.
Our company is rapidly reaching the point where Mailbutler is no longer a “nice-to-have” but rather a “must-have.”
Joe Troyer, CEO & Growth Advisor reviewgrower.com
“To better manage your inbox, you can use the free service Unroll.me to manage your newsletter subscriptions.
Although unsubscribing from a single newsletter might not seem like much of a task, the task quickly becomes overwhelming when you have to deal with tens or hundreds of subscriptions.
With Unroll.me, it’s easy to keep track of multiple inboxes’ worth of messages. With a few mouse clicks, you can easily unsubscribe from multiple newsletters at once, label messages for easier retrieval, and search for relevant messages based on a keyword.
Unroll.me’s “Rollup” function is useful for those who have too many email newsletters to keep up with. It compiles all your preferred email feeds into a single, concise daily summary.
Instead of wasting time searching through your inbox every time you get a promotion alert, you can instead quickly and efficiently go through your subscriptions.”
Michael Hess, eCommerce Strategy Lead at codesigningstore.com
Declutter your inbox
“Your inbox cannot be the starting point of a successful email management plan if it resembles JLo’s direct messages. To create a more successful email future, your first step should be to organize your current inbox scenario.
Get rid of any outdated or unnecessary emails by removing them entirely from your account to reduce the clutter in your inbox easily. Instead of simply deleting those emails one by one, take the time to unsubscribe from every newsletter you don’t enjoy to manage your inbox over time.
Then, based on the content of the emails, create folders or give special colors to the different types of emails you typically receive. To maintain a tidy inbox over time, be consistent in doing the same for all incoming emails.
Establishing an email routine
It’s challenging to complete jobs if your mind is scattered, you frequently interrupt yourself or others while working, and you don’t know what comes first.
While routine could imply tedium and boredom, it is essential to an effective organizational system. You must not be interrupted by emails, whether work-related or not, during the critical hours of the day.
Your mind will start racing when you see even the most unimportant email; you don’t want that at the start of the day or before going to bed. To focus on priorities and calm your thoughts, schedule certain times to check your email. You’ll be more comfortable and focused this way.”
Jenny Ly, Founder at Go Wanderly
Write, walk, then send
“My all-time favorite tip for writing better emails has been the ‘write, walk, and send’ method. I find that I rarely do my best work on the first draft, and email writing is no different. After writing out your email, get up from your desk and go for a short walk.
The idea is to relax, unwind, and think about things outside of the email that you were sending.
I find 10 minutes to be the perfect sweet spot. When it’s time to head back to your desk, take a read over what you’ve written — you might notice mistakes that you previously overlooked, or parts of your email that you’d like to rewrite.
After taking a break from your email, you’ll find it much easier to make improvements before sending it out.”
Max Wesman, COO at www.goodhire.com
“Ever since I started using an email organization and clean-up tool, my email marketers’ productivity has drastically improved. That’s because they struggled to search for follow-up emails from the clients.
It would take a minimum of 5 minutes to track them in their flooded inboxes. Hence, weeding out important messages from unnecessary emails needed my attention.
I began using Clean Email, which was a one-stop solution to all my problems. It had different metrics and features to help transform my employees’ messy inboxes.
This used to be one task everyone dreaded doing, but now it’s done with just a few clicks. As a result, the workers can dedicate this time to resolving client issues, which improves our customer retention.”
Rodney Warner , CEO at https://connectivewebdesign.com/
Set up rules or filters
“One of the simplest things I do to help increase email productivity is to set up rules or filters that will automatically sort your incoming mail into different folders.
This way, you can deal with each type of email in its own dedicated space, without having to wade through everything at once.
I also try to limit myself to checking emails only a few times per day (2-3 times). Checking your inbox too frequently can lead to distractions and lost focus, so it’s best to stick to a schedule.
One of my favorite email productivity tools is Hunter.io since I’m able to quickly find the contact information of the person I wish to get in touch with. This makes it easy to reach out about potential collaborations and reduces the amount of time needed to search for the proper contact.”
Cody Arsenault, Founder of CodyArsenault.com
Three wise email rules
“I’ve got three email rules. The mail that requires a personal touch and a little professional finish, I’ll deal with first thing in the morning, every morning without fail between 8 and 10 AM.
By staying on top of the mail that needs to be dealt with and sent I actually manage to hit a zero inbox count for at least five minutes every day, which is a pretty good feeling even if that figure doesn’t last very long.
The rest of the emails that we send out, the features and content updates and marketing that we need to do, are sent out at the close of business every day, and if we didn’t use, and wholly subscribe to the MailChimp way of doing things, we’d be stuck in the office until nearly midnight every single evening.
It automates, schedules, and helps us to do every mail-centric task we need it to.
And that’s it. Two schedules, one tool, the failsafe triumvirate, and the three golden email rules.”
Rob Greene, CEO and Co-Founder of https://www.priceofmeat.com/
Set up aliases
“Aliases are a useful tool that makes email filtering simple. Using plus signs and dots in your email address, Gmail lets you create aliases.
Let’s say, for instance, that your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
You wish to sign up for a newsletter and direct the newly arrived newsletters to a specific folder. Afterward, you can sign up by sending an email to email@example.com, and the weekly issues will continue to arrive in your inbox.
Then you could construct a filtering rule that would route all emails sent to that address to a folder called ‘Newsletters.’
These aliases can be used to automatically categorize and order incoming communications.
- Launch Gmail.
- Select Show search options in the search box at the top.
- Type your task-specific email address in the To field, e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Click Create filter.
- Select the actions you want Gmail to do with regard to these messages, including archiving, applying labels, and designating them as important.
- Click Create filter.”
Sanket Shah, CEO of InVideo
Reach Inbox Zero
“I’m sure we’ve all encountered opening our emails and scrolling through, making mental notes of what we’ll do, and then forgetting about it, letting that number on the notification grow (very guilty.)
People always think that inbox zero is about having zero emails, and that’s not the case. It’s a philosophy to ensure that you only have to deal with emails once.
When an email reaches your inbox, action it. Whether that’s archiving it, marking it to action later, reading later, unsubscribing (although I’d recommend you filter any emails that have “unsubscribe in it”), or replying now.
That way, it reduces that mental strain you have in your brain to action things. Our brains are made for creativity, not to store information. Life is stressful enough, so don’t let your inbox add to it.”
Jessica La, Content Marketing Consultant & Founder of By Jessica La
There are many things you can do to make your emails more productive.
Only replying to the emails you really need to reply to, replying at the correct time so your workflow isn’t interrupted, blocking out times to work on your emails, and using specific email tools which can make your life easier are just a few ways you can increase your email productivity.
Remember, not every one of these tactics will be relevant to everyone.
Pick and choose the ones which you think will work for you, test out different variations on email workflows, and find the perfect, efficient system so that working on emails becomes something that helps your business, rather than hindering your progress.
Hopefully, our experts have given you some useful tips and tools you can utilize to go forth and conquer your email messages.