Are you spending too much time writing emails? Then, you need some help mastering email efficiency. It's not about cutting corners; email efficiency is the art of creating better messages faster than ever – and we can show you how!
We'll explain the link between email efficiency and effectiveness, identifying 8 tips, 2 techniques, and 6 tools that can save you precious time and improve performance. Whatever industry you're in or the stage of your career, mastering email efficiency is an essential skill that will benefit you.
If you're ready to improve your email efficiency, then let's begin!
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8 best practices and tips for email efficiency
The experts at the Harvard Business Review may recommend slowing down to write emails, but do you have time?
The average employee spends 28% of their time reading, writing, and responding to emails. Most of us would prefer to spend less time messaging than more, which is why you need to learn efficient email management skills.
We've created this list of 6 essential email efficiency tips. These are evidence-based ways to handle emails efficiently, minimize time, and maximize productivity. So whether you want to learn how to manage email efficiently and effectively for business or like to learn efficient email practices for your personal life, let's begin.
1. Schedule time for handling emails
The average person checks their emails 6 – 20 times daily (and often more).
A constant flow of emails to your inbox can interrupt your flow, increase pressure on your other tasks, and just plain stress you out. Every unread or unanswered email adds to the pressure, which can cause stress.
The solution? Switch it off!
If your job allows, block slots of time throughout the day where you can dedicate yourself to reading and responding to emails.
Slots are up to you. Checking email first thing in the morning may be essential to some work, whereas others prefer to get their biggest tasks out of the way first thing in the morning before opening the email floodgates.
Checking email at set times during the day can help you focus more on your other meaningful work. Whether you check your emails twice a day or more, you may want to make it clear in your signature and at least to your colleagues that you won't be accessible at certain times during the day.
2. Use notification schedules or do not disturb
Switching alerts off can enable you to focus, which can greatly benefit productivity and performance.
Research suggests that focusing on one thing at a time makes you 40% more efficient. That means jobs take less time to complete and standards are higher. No boss can complain about that.
By setting aside specific times to answer emails and switching off alerts outside of those times, you'll ensure complete focus on what's in front of you.
3. Learn your email client's shortcuts
Your email software (or client, in tech terms) has some incredible shortcuts that can help you to save time. There are hundreds of ways that you can navigate your emails faster and more effectively.
Gmail contains handy shortcuts to rapidly respond, file, and trash unwanted emails. But there's so much more you can do.
Similarly, Microsoft's Outlook has hundreds of built-in shortcuts enabling you to format text, navigate your inbox, and update your calendar.
It'll take a little time to learn the shortcuts, but when you do, they'll improve your email efficiency.
4. Have an integrated proofreading app
Proofreading emails is essential when working in a professional environment. Still, built-in spelling and grammar checkers are clumsy and certainly not quick.
Installing a real-time grammar checker such as Grammarly or Flowrite can provide real-time suggestions to remove errors. But, more than that, they can help you streamline sentences and write in a confident, active voice ideal for your intended audience.
5. Make use of efficiency tools and apps
Proofreading apps are a great addition to your email efficiency arsenal, but there is a whole range of new technologies that can help. Innovative apps and cloud-based solutions such as Flowrite and Superhuman can significantly improve your email efficiency.
If you're interested in learning more, we've provided details on 6 of the best apps available below!
6. Use 'labels' and 'folders'
Finding emails can be time-consuming and frustrating. Labeling them when they arrive and filing them in folders can make it much easier to find them when needed.
Email clients enable you to automatically set up specific instructions to filter emails into specific folders. This keeps all correspondence in one place, making it easier to access when needed.
7. Call instead (if it's more efficient)
Sometimes, sending an email may be the least efficient way of dealing with an issue, particularly if it's urgent. So instead of spending minutes typing out your message, consider whether a call could be better.
If it is, then pick up the phone and get dialing.
8. Learn and develop a process to manage emails
Successful email management involves establishing a process. This involves classifying email, setting priorities, and being proactive about management.
Sounds like a great idea? Then read on as we go through two efficient email management processes.
How to process emails efficiently
One of the key things you must know about how to process email efficiently is developing a system. You've probably developed your way of dealing with emails. Ignoring them until the last minute is still a process, right?
Here, we describe two strategies to help you learn how to use email efficiently. They can help you write efficient emails, manage your emails efficiently and boss your inbox.
The first example comes from the world's leading management journal, the Harvard Business Review, and the second from Flowrite.
Email process 1: Harvard Business Review
Peter Bregman is a CEO, entrepreneur, and efficiency expert. He's developed a five-step process for better email efficiency. He optimizes every day and ensures that email doesn't overtake everything by limiting his emails to just 30 minutes. He sets a timer and gets to work…
Here's how it works for Peter.
- Start by sending messages: Peter sets an email timer for 30 minutes and starts to send urgent messages. "This often includes follow-ups to meetings, thank-you notes, questions, scheduling, and other requests," says Peter. If someone responds during this email period, he'll reply (but only if it's essential).
- Cleanse the inbox: Peter quickly scans his inbox to identify any emails that can easily be deleted. "I don't want to waste time reading, including marketing emails and impersonal blasts I haven't requested." It takes seconds but can save time previously spent sifting through junk mail.
- Give a response: Peter won't ever ignore an email, but he streamlines the process. "I do my best to answer every single email that comes directly to me, even if it means just writing 'Thank you.'" He doesn't apply any strategy here; he just works down from the newest to the oldest.
- Filing keeps things clean: Once he's opened and read an email, it's filed away immediately – to save time from having to reread them. "I found that when I did leave emails in my inbox, I'd re-read them repeatedly each time I opened my email, and each time I'd waste more time trying to decide how to handle it," says Peter. It's filed when dealt with or deleted. The ultimate goal is a totally clear inbox (we can wish!).
- Read and follow up: "In whatever time I have left before my timer goes off, I go through my non-inbox folders," says Peter. He may read a newsletter, click a link or check out something new. When the timer clicks, he's focusing on something else.
Peter's approach to email may be extreme to some. Of course, not all of us can simply switch off our emails, but we can learn from his example of managing and filing, as well as prioritizing what's important.
Email process 2: Flowrite AI templates
Flowrite helps business professionals automate most of their boring and repetitive emails. The process is simple. You create templates for the different email types you regularly write. For example, if you frequently reject sales pitches or write cold outreach emails to sell your services, you would create a template for these purposes.
This is how a cold outreach email template works in action:
Let our founder and power-user, Aaro, explain: "I communicate with investors a lot through email, and templates for all types of common exchange save me tons of time every week. Compared to the time before Flowrite, I can write those repetitive – yet personal – emails in seconds instead of minutes. It has helped me to become so much more productive."
You can learn more about our process and how to use the tool here:
In a nutshell, Flowrite is a modern email tool that writes your emails for you with help from artificial intelligence. You just need to write a few instructions (like bullet points) and pick a template (the intent of the email) and our software does the rest. Discover how our templates can help you here.
6 of the best email efficiency tools and apps
Email productivity tools are new inventions that can transform how you manage your messages. Integrating email productivity apps into your processes can save you time and reduce errors. You can call them email productivity or efficiency tools if you like, but they can save you some serious time!
These tools aren't free (and prices will vary, depending on your location and the number of users), but by using them, you're getting something more valuable than money: time.
Here's our choice of six of the best email productivity apps available today:
An email generator that writes clear and effective emails for you? That's Flowrite.
For many of us, writing emails is a chore, particularly when we're writing in another language. Flowrite can help anyone write better emails faster. Instead of having to type out lengthy emails, it turns short instructions into professional prose.
The AI-powered tool ensures emails are professionally written and formatted. On top of that, it helps you strike the right tone of voice, ensures perfect grammar and works across the browser.
Flowrite can take the strain out of writing effective emails. Over time, you'll learn from the system, creating even better and more effective emails. Save time, learn skills and smash targets with Flowrite.
Superhuman is a program that's focused on optimizing the Gmail experience. The innovative tool lets you split the inbox, categorizing emails into special tabs.
One of the best features of Superhuman is the super-efficient shortcuts. Learn them, and you'll be managing your messages faster than ever. OK, so you'll need to learn a new way of working but trust us, the benefits of email productivity can be massive.
If you struggle with spelling, syntax, grammar, and punctuation, then Grammarly is for you. Grammarly works as an always-on editor, helping to shape your content. You can integrate Grammarly into your browser, email program, and productivity software (such as Microsoft Word) as well as working as a standalone editor.
When working with Grammarly, you need to set some parameters (language, style, and objectives). The system will then identify errors and suggest ways to improve the text.
The system isn't foolproof, and you'll need to check every suggestion, not simply accept them. But as a writing aid, few out there are as good as Grammarly.
Sanebox is an intelligent email filtering program that helps you to focus on tasks without interruption. The system will automatically send (what it considers to be) unnecessary emails to folders, leaving you to concentrate on tasks. The app is integrated with Gmail, Office 365, and iCloud for seamless service.
The folders have cool names such as SaneLater (for distractions) SaneCC (for CC'ed emails), and so on. The system will also trash some emails without bothering you.
Sanebox is an intelligent system, but you'll need to check it's getting things right regularly, or you could miss urgent emails from unexpected places.
Boomerang is another Gmail integration aimed at those who send lots of email messages on the platform. You can track who has received, opened, or replied to your messages.
As well as this innovative feature, you can delay sending emails and snoozing messages you've received. Email tracking is possible with a dashboard of stats detailing actions.
Boomerang isn't for everyone, but for those who write and send large numbers of emails – such as those involved in email marketing – it's packed full of essential features that optimize your performance.
Detective is an AI program that helps you create a personal connection with your audience. It researchers the recipient, alerting you to the latest news from their organization and industry. The result is more professional and personalized messaging.
The platform is aimed at sales professionals. If you're in the business of selling to other companies, Detective can save you huge amounts of time and help you form better and more profitable partnerships.
Email efficiency is about taking back control over your mailbox. Using the hints and tips here and using some of the innovative programs, you can optimize your email usage.
Tools and technologies can only go so far; you'll need to develop the skills you need to stay on top, including being able to manage a busy mailbox. Intelligent writing assistants such as Flowrite, Grammarly, and others can help you to avoid making mistakes while at the same time developing your abilities and understanding of effective messaging.
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