I spent a lot of time in my inbox so I am constantly looking for ways to make it more customized to my workflow. Although there is no silver bullet for inbox zero (except perhaps blinding deleting all emails each day), gmail labs and gmail plug-ins are a huge help.
Recycle old emails with Canned Responses
If you are constantly writing similar responses, why are you starting from scratch each time? Gmail Lab’s ‘Canned Response’ feature allows you to save the text you use most frequently in emails.
Types of canned responses I use at InclineHQ: - How Incline works (explains what we do and why we do it) - Confirming weekly speakers - Accepting a new student to the next class - On-boarding new hiring partners - Weekly student feedback requests
Now instead of trying to think of all the scenarios upfront, save as you go. If you write an email this week you know you’ll use in the future, go to canned response and ‘save new’ before you send.
Next time you write that email you can drop in the text you need and edit before sending. That way if you have to change any details (name of person or change of dates) you can do it quickly. It’s much faster than searching your inbox for an old email to copy and paste language.
I haven’t checked it out yet but Text Expander comes recommended from Alex Godin. It costs $35 but gives the added benefit of being able to use it outside email.
Reduce the amount of email you see with filters
Email is a fast, efficient, and widely adopted communication tool when you’re able to utilize it only to do things that add value.
Last week I wrote about one of my favorite Gmail hacks by using Google appointment slots to streamline scheduling meetings. Another favorite is Gmail Filters. I use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram often enough that getting an email notification for everything is redundant. Instead I only opt-into the notifications that I care about and have them all filter into a ‘Social’ folder. For non-urgent email, I filter into a ‘Read Later’, for articles, or ‘Rodeo’, for long-term projects.
Thankfully, filter is now getting easier. This week Gmail announced teh launch of automatic filtering. Access will roll out to Gmail users in the coming weeks. (hint, hint: Google, I’d love to try it out.) Thanks Eric Radstake for the video below!
If you still have email that you delete every day or week - pledge to yourself that you’ll stop torturing your inbox and just unsubscribe. The company sending it can save the pennies it saves on sending it to you and may see an open-rate bump with a lower denominator.
Reuse more emails by setting up introduction context
Need an introduction or connection? Speed up the email-introduction process by providing what you need, why and how to get in touch.
Poor request: Can you make that intro?
Reusable request: As we discussed on the phone, I’m interested in talking to companies that are looking for an iOS developer. I have 3 years of experience working at Company Y.
Here are the links for my portfolio, github and LinkedIn profile. I’ve applied to the company directly through their website but have attached my resume here.
Thanks, Name, Email, Social Links
By setting up the context for the request, it’s easy to quickly forward the email instead of starting from scratch. Reusing email is a two-way street so trying to be mindful of setting it up on your end is essential. Canned responses can help here too!
What tools do you use to manage email? Let me know on Twitter @br_ttany.