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Article 5 simple things that make email management easier

Americans spend 5 hours1 a day going through their inbox. Crazy, right?

Our inboxes are a huge part of our lives. But they’ve become a symbol for stress and overload.

In a small business, there’s no time to waste. Every minute you spend on email management could be spent improving your customer service or debugging a new app.

But efficient email management—you know, keeping your inbox organized—can actually help you tackle big challenges that affect different parts of your business, while also freeing you from a cluttered inbox.

Here are a few moves that will unscramble your day:

1. Tasks first, emails second

Reading your email before seeing what your day looks like usually means you’re taking on new tasks and meetings when you should be prioritizing the ones you’ve already got set up.

Try opening your calendar before your inbox every morning. Looking at your daily schedule first makes you aware of your meetings and tasks, so you can take some time to prepare for them.

That way, once you do get to your inbox and acknowledge requests from clients and colleagues, you’ll already know what else you should be doing.

You’ll feel less stressed and you’ll make sure you’re prioritizing the important over the urgent.

2. Educate your team on email etiquette

Educating people on your team on how to be more effective in their emails goes a long away.

The first thing to do is to go up to them and ask them to send fewer emails and talk face-to-face more often.

You always want to warn people to be mindful of having too many CCs. The more recipients you add, the longer you’ll need to wait for everyone to respond. (This is really just about making decisions faster.)

For people that get a lot of emails, it’s worth letting them know when you need a response at the end of each email (or even in the subject line). This helps them prioritize and saves them some avoidable stress.

(While we’re here, if your inbox is stressing you out, unsubscribe to the dozens of useless newsletters you get every day and stop telling yourself they could be useful someday.)

3. Use templates for frequent emails

If you wait too long to answer customers, they will get frustrated.

But think about all the time you spend typing out the same old responses to different clients every week. For instance, you might get a lot of inquiries about what kind of work you do. And you probably have a stock response to the question.

Save yourself the hassle of typing it out over and over again by creating templates for answers to all the queries that keep coming up. (In Gmail you can even do it with one click or automatically2.)

Canned messages are a great way to instantly tell people you see them and will get back to them as soon as possible—a simple gesture to let them know they’re on your radar.

(Another good way to use canned messaged is through email scheduling. If you have an important email that you want clients to see at the top of their inbox first thing Monday, don’t wait until you’re in the office. Schedule it to be sent when you want it to.)

4. Filter your clients through an email alias

Marketing campaigns, newsletters, shipping confirmations and LinkedIn digests shouldn’t be distracting you from the important stuff.

By adding a “+” to your email address, you can create an alias address within your account to filter irrelevant emails before they get to you. So you could subscribe to newsletters with and everything sent to this address will go to a label or folder set as low priority.

The same is even more useful when you want to prioritize certain client messages. They can send urgent emails to Just set up a filter to automatically star, archive or label emails addressed to it.

This will help you keep your inbox organized and save you the time it takes to open a message and figure out if it’s urgent or not.

(If you already use folders to organize your emails but you’re still stressing, it might be worth trying a different folder structure.)

5. Use collaborative inboxes to delegate work

Collaborative inboxes3 can take a lot of pressure off a small business.

If you operate a tech company, for example, you could have an email “support” account for people to contact when they have technical issues.

You can give a group of people permission to respond to customers. Then you can distribute and track different tasks for each group member.

The good thing is, when you use a collaborative inbox, you don’t have to switch back and forth between your account and the company’s account.

Bonus tip: Gmail lets you recall an email for up to 30 seconds after you send it—just undo that message and try again!

Email management doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck.

Email is supposed to make it easier to work with your colleagues and clients. But it can be overwhelming. So, if you aren’t careful about how you organize your emails, you could end up stressing yourself out and slowing yourself down.

You don’t need a list of fancy email management tools to get this right. It’s just email at the end of the day.

But you do need to be deliberate about your daily habits.

So, stop worrying about email and get back to solving all the problems your customers need you to solve.

For more advice on how to cut down your admin burden, or any other challenges your business might face, contact us at 1-877-633-1102—or visit our small business website.