By now most of us are familiar with the feeling of seeing an endless tide of email notifications, and, try as we might, we can never seem to empty the inbox before another message arrives.
The most frustrating thing is every email requires our immediate and undivided attention lest we only serve to compound the problem.
In fact, according to a recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute, employees and business owners alike are spending 28 percent of their time at work reading, sorting, deleting and sending emails — that’s the equivalent of 13 hours per week!
Fortunately, there are many ways for you to cut down on the virtual clutter and free yourself up to take on more important things, and we’re going to run through a few of the best.
1. Get Swipes with Gmail Integration
Swipes’ full Gmail integration can turn emails into tasks via a simple set-up process that allows you to create an “Add to Swipes” folder under your Gmail account. After that, it’s just a matter of moving your selections over.
When you do this, the subject line will become the task heading and a preview of the email will be displayed in the notes section at the bottom of Swipe’s task view.
For each Email task you create, you can either complete it, or reschedule it for later. This will help you get to inbox zero faster, while also brining a new approach to your normal emailing routine.
2. Send Voicemails to Your Email
Before you ask how sending more traffic to your inbox will help you to organize your thoughts and make it through the day, think about how many times you get a voicemail and cringe when you see the message light blinking, knowing it’s just one more thing you have to do.
Services like AccessDirect can automatically send voicemails to your email. You can access such services from any device with an Internet connection, so you’ll no longer need to worry about what urgent messages are being left on your office phone while you’re out of town.
3. Set Up and Automate Your Gmail Filters
Using Gmail’s advanced search drop down menu, you can create inbox automation protocols to lighten the load via customized filters. Just imagine having most of your work done before setting foot in the office each morning and wondering how you got anything done previously.
These filters will help you in labeling, prioritizing and managing which emails make it to your inbox and which do not. All you need to do to set one up is search for specific words or terms, click the “Create filter with this search” button, and input the desired parameters — it’s that easy.
4. Save Gmail Attachments to the Cloud
In today’s age the best thing you can do is become best friends with the cloud. Where most emails are concerned, it’s the attachment that matters, not the message and you’ll sleep a lot lighter knowing these are safe.
You can do this through services such as Kloudless if you’re using Chrome as your web browser. Just install it and refresh the page and you should notice a new icon at the top of Gmail, next to your name badge.
5. Multi-Task with Google Hangouts
Finally, the new tool from Google that lets up to ten people talk over video and share screens can be launched without you having to exit your Gmail, so use that to your advantage.
Underneath the tab labelled “Chats” in the sidebar you’ll see a video camera icon, and from there you’ll be able to make calls and organize a Hangout. While you’re at it, take the time to edit Gmail’s navigation menu as the default set-up isn’t all that conducive to effective workflows.
If you found this post interesting be sure to check out what else we’ve written on the subject and head over to our companion article, “7 Gmail Tips to Save Time”, where you’ll find a few other efficient resources to help you out.