All I want you to do, right now in this moment, is open your email inbox and look at it. This may be a challenge for you, this may require some courage on your side.
I have talked about emails, meetings and hacks before, yet I do believe there is always something more you can learn – plus, new awesome things get released weekly, so you have always something more to learn.
Email can be a time-sucking black hole for everyone: the more you answer to, the more they come back to haunt you.
You should pick and choose which systems fit, based on how you think and work. However, there are a few tools and hacks that may help you getting started with it.
Creating email scripts
I use our team management system (Quip) to store emails, scripts and random templates – that we’ll quite fix for each other – so that the wide world understands what the bloody heck I am saying!
Quip’s living documents allow me to create, share, and discuss your docs and spreadsheets with the team in real-time, add comments and mention people.
This sounds like an obvious hack, but so many times we rewrite the same emails from scratch and I kinda wonder: isn’t there an easier way, really?
In 2019 Gmail, our favourite email tool/app, turns 15, and to celebrate Google is launching some minor updates, including giving users the option to schedule emails – yes, you heard it right (and you heard it from us!) Check out how EASY it is now to schedule emails via this handy GIF.
Seriously, can I get an ‘amen’?
Clicking an arrow next to the “Send” button in the compose window will bring up this scheduler. You can choose from presets like “tomorrow morning” or specify a particular time and date.
You could previously schedule emails on Gmail through third-party extensions, but now you can use the Gmail function and save yourself any additional headaches.
The tool is handy for messaging clients, or potential partners, or even have an email power hour before the end of the day, and getting a neat parcel of emails sent the following morning.
Other handy options…
As we talked about the danger of distractions before, it’s not surprising that most of us tend to switch over to the email tab in our web browser with every incoming-mail notification. How can we fix this once and for all, and reclaim our emails?
Batched Inbox hides incoming emails in a separate folder until pre-designated times each day (say, 10 a.m. or 2 p.m.—or more often if you’re not ready to scale back your always-on obsession that far just yet).
Lightweight Gmail extensions are life savers. True story. One of my all time favourites is Boomerang. Boomerang is the email bestie you have been waiting for your all life.
It schedules emails, as well as reminding you to follow up with people who get the inbox overload syndrome…and leave you hopeless at the bottom of their inbox.
With Boomerang, you can write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time. Write the messages as you normally would, then click the Send Later button. Use our handy calendar picker or our text box that understands language like “next Monday” to tell Boomerang when to send your message.
Not only you can schedule an email to be sent a few hours or days later, but old unresponded emails will reappear at the top of your inbox…unless somebody responds first!
InboxWhenReady is a free Chrome extension that allows you to temporarily hide your inbox with the click of a button so you can handle all of your email-related tasks without getting distracted the second a new message lands.
“Shall I send an invite?”
Another thing we do a lot is going to meetings – or even calls, for what matters. In total honesty, half of the time is spent finding a slot in your calendar. I tried multiple scheduling tools, but Assistant.io syncs automatically with your Google calendar (which equals to less double-booking, and nobody has an excuse to pull a no-show.
Once installed, Assistant.to adds a widget to all “Compose New Message” windows in Gmail. Simply choose meeting times that work for you, and Assistant.to will add them to your email with a note asking the recipient to choose one of the meeting options. Assistant.to runs via a Google Chrome extension, so it won’t work in Firefox or any other browser. The extension is only compatible with Gmail, but the developer is looking to add support for Outlook.
The fact that people can select their favourite times straight from the email and save their appointments within Google Calendar is most certainly a bonus.
Clearing your inbox does not have to be hard. Find the tools that work best for you, and create a routine.