Nine useful things you can do with your email

Man typing email
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

2 May 2016

Eleanor O'Neill counts down nine incredibly useful things you didn't know you could do with your email.

According to research by McKinsey & Company, we spend 28% of the average work week reading and writing emails.

That's a lot of time that can be reclaimed with a few simple tips, tricks and apps built to make your inbox more manageable.

1. Trim the bacn

You know all those emails that aren't really spam but repeatedly get filed away in your trash anyway? Newsletters, subscription services and social media updates all account for a huge proportion of our daily email intake.

The technical term for this inbox clutter is 'bacn'.

SaneBox filters such mail into a separate folder and summarises a bulk number into a single digest for easy perusal.


Image courtesy: Sanebox

2. Sync up your accounts

There are many reasons to have multiple email accounts. But constantly checking every account can become very time consuming.

Most email providers have a function that automatically forwards all incoming mail to another address. Pick a central inbox and redirect everything there to make sure that anyone trying to reach you is successful, regardless of which address they used.

See these guides for Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Yahoo! Mail.

3. Hit snoozeBoomerang

If an email has important but non time sensitive information, you can 'snooze' it until a date in the future where it will reappear as a new message.

For example, an itinerary for a future trip can be programmed to redeliver itself a few days before you leave, rather than being buried in the interim weeks.

Boomerang is a Gmail add-on designed for this very purpose.

Image courtesy: Boomerang

4. Remind yourself to follow-up

Often you may send an email that requires a response and never receive a reply.

Following up usually encourages your recipient into action, but what if the lack of communication has caused you to forget about it?

You can flag emails in Outlook for a reminder or use to schedule alerts about mail that hasn't been replied to. Problem solved!

5. Undo send

Ever had that feeling of instant regret after hitting send?

Finally, it's not only possible to recall an email from the virtual ether but it's actually really easy.

Gmail gives you up to 30 seconds to undo sending a message, provided you have the setting enabled. Outlook also lets you recall and replace mail that hasn't been opened yet.

Undo send

Image courtesy: The Hive

6. Silence lengthy threads

Constant notifications about a single conversation thread taking up your inbox can be extremely annoying.

Gmail has a 'mute' option on messages that will redirect new responses around your inbox unless they are addressed to only you.

The 'Ignore Conversation' feature on Outlook has a similar function, automatically deleting incoming mail in a selected thread.

7. Customise your sign-offs

You may already end emails with a preset signature, usually your name and company details.

But before that, most people sign-off emails with a general sentiment. 'Thank you, John', 'Yours sincerely, Mary' and so on.

Use TextExpander to create keyboard shortcuts for customised sign-offs for every occasion. For example, 'krc' could fill in 'Kind regards, The CA Today Team'.


Image courtesy: TextExpander

8. Find out who you're talking to

The person on the receiving end of your emails might be a total stranger.

Rapportive is a Gmail application that displays a contact's LinkedIn profile without you leaving your inbox. You can be presented with a picture, location and work history with no effort at all.

Networking just got easy.

9. Become a shortcut whiz

There are email actions you need to perform again and again.

Shortcuts, like the name suggests, are an amazing time saver, making navigating your inbox as simple as hitting a key or two.

See these guides for Gmail, Outlook and Apple Mail.

Apple Mail shortcuts

Image courtesy: DashKards

What's your favourite email trick or time-saver? Let us know in the comments below.


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