This post was updated on September 20, 2021
I consistently find leaders and professionals across the globe making the same big mistake — they try to squeeze in handling email between their meetings and other tasks.
But my clients receive an average of 100 emails per day. Each email requires an average of two minutes to process, totalling 200 minutes, or 3 hours and 20 minutes per day! They can’t possibly process email “between” other tasks.
To save time on email, it’s important first to recognize email as real work. Then get a productivity plugin like Mailbutler that can seamlessly integrate with your email client. A productivity plugin can save time on email by allowing you to create templates, share templates with teams, use the “send later” feature to protect work-life balance, and design an effective signature line.
It’s no surprise that many clients contact me because they’re feeling overwhelmed by email. Here are seven tips that help my clients save time on email. I’m confident that they’ll work for you, too:
1. Change Your Mindset
One of the first ways I help my clients save time on email is to convince them that email is “real work.” Email is communication from team members, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. It takes focus and significant blocks of dedicated time to handle. It’s not something to be done when you have “a few minutes” in between other tasks.
2. Integrate a Productivity Plugin With Your Email Client
Another way I help my clients save time on email is by recommending tools that can reduce the time it takes to process email. One tool that I’m currently recommending is called Mailbutler.
Mailbutler is a productivity plugin that seamlessly integrates with your favorite email client. It has a host of features that can save you and your team significant time.
3. Use Templates to Avoid Rewriting Same Text
Most of my clients find themselves sending out similar emails day after day. Rather than having to retype the same sentences, a template feature allows my clients to save emails they use frequently. Then they simply “tweak” the template to personalize it for the next recipient. Done!
Using templates can cut down email response time from two minutes per message to 30 seconds. If you’re sending a similar email response to 20 people in the same day, using templates can save you 30 minutes. If you end up using a few templates in a day to respond to even more messages, you’ll save even more time on email.
4. Share Templates With Your Team
Some productivity plugins like Mailbutler allow you to share templates with various teams within your organization. If you’re a leader and you’d like to streamline the language your team members are using, you can easily share the template you create. Team members can then quickly “tweak” your template to personalize it for the recipient.
5. Use “Send Later” to Protect from Burnout
Many email clients and productivity plugins allow you to schedule your emails to send at a future date and time. As I coach my clients, the “always-on 24/7” work culture made possible by our iPhones and other devices isn’t conducive to sustainable productivity.
In fact, studies show that people who don’t disconnect during weekends and vacations are less productive and more prone to burnout. Read my post, The Importance of Work-Life Balance, for a look at the research behind this finding.
But what does this have to do with the ability to send emails at a future date and time? Well, everything.
With the “Send Later” feature, for example, you can preserve your vacation time or “off-hours,” even if you need to respond by email to a work colleague who is in a different time zone. Rather than interrupt your family dinner to shoot off a quick email about a pressing issue when you know your co-workers across the globe are at their desk, simply write your email during your own work hours. Then schedule it to go out later, during your colleagues’ workday.
6. Model Work-Life Balance
If you are a team leader, it’s critical to model behavior that will help your team members feel more energized and motivated at work. To this end, you don’t want to send them email after their work hours or during their vacation time, unless absolutely necessary.
Your team members will save time on email by replying to you when they can be thoughtful. This avoids the back-and-forth of having to clarify any poorly worded or incomplete messages your team members may dash off quickly when they’re distracted by other priorities.
If you’re working different hours than your team members, don’t impose your work schedule on them. Compose your emails whenever it is convenient for you, and schedule them to be sent during regular business hours.
If a colleague is on vacation and you want to send a message with an idea that you have now, write your email and then use the “Send Later” feature to schedule your email to send when they’re back at work.
7. Create Eye-Catching Email Signatures
Another Mailbutler feature that can help boost productivity and visibility is the signature function. Easily create one or more eye-catching email signatures.
What I love about Mailbutler signatures over other email signature services is that it’s actual text, not an image. So your signature always appears properly and any links you include are clickable. Using a text-based signature saves your recipients time on email because they can easily add your information to a digital address book.
Saving Time on Email Is Just the Beginning!
Feeling in control of your email is an important component in effectively managing your workload.
If you are drowning in email, definitely consider Mailbutler, especially if you are an Apple Mail user. (Apple Mail is missing many of these features.) Mailbutler helps me increase my own productivity and it helps my clients save time on email.
Using these tips can help you regain an hour of productive time back into your day—every day! But this is just the beginning. If you’d like more help boosting your productivity, sign up for my self-paced, video-based Empowered Productivity course. You’ll not only discover how to tame your email, but you’ll also learn to use a system to organize all the details of your work and your life.
If you have questions about Empowered Productivity or anything else, I’m always happy to talk. Contact me and together we can figure out your next best step.