According to research done by the Radicati Group, an estimated 11.2 billion emails were sent every hour of every day across the world in 2017. The research also found that an average office worker received 121 emails and sent 40 emails per day. Email was the preferred method of communication for 86% of professionals. In light of this digital deluge, the efficient management of emails is an important way to bring clarity and calm to your work life. Here are five steps you can take to tame the wild world of email. I will be focusing on Gmail, but these steps can apply to any email service.
If you were to take only one of these steps, this is by and far the most transformative. Simply put, delete all the emails you truly don’t need. Decluttering your inbox (or anything else for that matter, such as a room or a car) will make it much easier to find things, and it will make the things you still have easier to manage. In Gmail, check the box next to the emails you want to delete. Once you have all those selected, click the trash can icon near the top of the page to delete them. The deleted emails will still be in your Gmail trash, and you can go there to permanently delete them.
Over the years, you have probably signed up to get emails for a variety of sources. You may also be getting emails from places where you didn’t sign up. Spam filters are usually good at detecting and removing spam emails, but many unwanted or useless emails still get to your inbox. There is a quick and easy way to reduce the number of emails you get by unsubscribing from them. At the bottom of an email is usually a link that you can click to unsubscribe or update your email preferences for that sender. Just click on that link and unsubscribe. Here is what those links may look like:
The first two steps will greatly reduce the number of emails you have in your inbox, which will make this step of organization much easier. In this step, you will create labels for you Gmail. These are essentially folders that you can drag and drop emails into to categorize and organize them. This will help you manage all your emails and make it easier to find them since they’ll be in categories. On the left side of Gmail, you will see “Inbox”. Scroll down that left side until you see “More” with a down arrow next to it. Click on “More”, scroll down, and then click on “Create new label”. Now, you can name the label something like “Lesson Plans” or “Parents” or “Administration”. Once you have created all the labels you want, you can drag and drop your emails into these labels.
4. Use Email Groups
In a school or business, there are always certain groups of people we email on a regular basis. Typing in each recipient in the To field (and even remembering all the people you want to include) can be tedious and time-consuming. Having a ready-made email group makes the sending and organizing of emails faster and easier. Email groups can be handy for teachers as they can create groups for parents, committees, courses, extracurricular activities, etc. Below are screenshots and instructions on how to do this yourself in Gmail.
First, click the down arrow next to “Mail”, and then click on “Contacts”.
Next, click on “New Group...”, and then name the group.
Now, you can add people to the group. Click the button with the plus sign, and then type in the email addresses of the people you want in the group. When you’ve included all of them, click “Add”.
On the Contacts page, you can select a group to email. Or you can return to the Mail page (click the arrow next to Contacts), compose a new email, and type the name of the group in the To field.
5. Undo Send
We have all experienced that sinking feeling in the moment after sending an email you wish you didn’t send. Gmail has a way of making that wish come true. There is an undo send feature in Gmail that gives you the ability to stop an email from being sent even if you already hit the send button. When you’re in Gmail, click the gear icon on the right side of the screen. Then, click “Settings”. Click the box next to “Enable Undo Send”, and then select the amount of time you want to give yourself to undo a sent email: 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds. Once you have undo send enabled, a narrow window will appear at the top of your Gmail inbox with the option of undoing the sent email and showing you how much time you have left to do it.