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Viral Element / Tips & Tricks  / 5 Highly Effective Email Time Management Hacks
Person typing on a keyboard

5 Highly Effective Email Time Management Hacks

Most salespeople spend hours in their inbox every day: Writing emails, scheduling them, reading them, and organizing them.

If you could save just 10% of this time, you’d have more time for actual selling. In the long run, that means better results for you and your prospects.

To shrink your email investment by 10% (or more), try these five effective email time management hacks.


1) Set Up Auto-Categorization Rules

 Tags and folders help you stay organized and find emails again when you need them. But sorting and categorizing every message also consumes precious time and mental energy.

The solution? Set up inbox “rules” so emails are automatically saved to the appropriate folder based on key characteristics.

Here are the instructions for Gmail:

  1. Click the “gear” icon and select “Settings.”

Screen shot of gear icon in gmail

  1. Click the “Labels” tab.

Screen shot of labels tab

  1. Create a new Label or Category.

Screen shot showing how to create a new label or category

  1. Click the “Filters and blocked addresses” tab and choose “Create a new filter.”

Screen shot showing how to create a new filter

  1. Enter the appropriate specifications. For instance, you might want to label every email from your sales manager as “Important” or every one that contains the words “demo” as “Respond ASAP.” Click “Create a filter with this search.”

Screen shot showing how to create a new filter

  1. Select “Apply the label as” or “Categorize as,” then choose the label and/or category you just created.

 Screen shot showing how to select the label or category just created

Here are the instructions for Inbox by Gmail:

  1. Click “Create new” in the left sidebar.

Screen shot showing "Create new" in the left sidebar

  1. Title your “bundle” (a.k.a. folder.)

Screen shot showing where to title your "bundle"

  1. Click the gear icon next to your new bundle’s name in the left sidebar.

Screen shot showing gear icon next to new bundle's name

  1. Choose “Automatically add messages,” then select the appropriate specifications and press “Save.”

 Screen showing how to choose "Automatically add messages"

Here are the instructions for Outlook:

  1. Select “Settings” and “Options.”

Screen shot showing how to select options in Outlook email

  1. Under the Mail sub-menu, find “Automatic processing,” and click “Inbox and sweep rules.”

Screen shot showing where to select inbox and sweep rules in Outlook email

  1. Click the “+” icon to create a new rule.

  1. Enter a name (for example, “CRM Notifications”) and the appropriate criteria. Under “Do all of the following,” choose “Mark the message” > “with a category.”

Screen shot showing where to enter a name and the appropriate criteria in Outlook email

  1. Select a category.

Screen shot showing how to select a message category

  1. Press “OK.”

Screen shot showing where to press "OK" 


2) Respond to Messages When You Read Them

 Reading an email without responding immediately is a waste of time. Replying later requires opening the message, reading it, and formulating your thoughts all over again.

To get this time back, don’t close a new email until you respond. If you get a message and you’re not ready to answer, wait to open it until you are ready.

Sometimes responding right away is impossible: You’re waiting on another person, don’t possess the necessary information, need to double-check your answer with someone else, and so on. In these cases, draft as much of your reply as possible. When you do respond, you won’t be starting from scratch.


3) Make Templates for Emails You Send Frequently

 Using templates can save you hours per week. Instead of typing out variations on the same email 50 times to 50 different prospects, you can take a general message and customize it to the specific recipient. This process is far more efficient — and it makes personalizing your emails easier as well.

While templates definitely come in handy for prospecting and follow up emails, you should use them for any type of message you send repeatedly.

To give you an idea, here’s a sample list of templates:

  • Confirming connect call with buyer
  • Confirming discovery call with buyer
  • Confirming demo with buyer
  • Confirming negotiation call with buyer
  • Sending proposal to sign
  • Answering question about pricing tiers
  • Answering question about features
  • Answering question about available support
  • Forwarding relevant blog post
  • Asking for advice on prospect’s area of expertise
  • Making intro


4) Memorize Keyboard Shortcuts

 Navigate your inbox faster with keyboard shortcuts. Most email providers come with their own built-in shortcuts. Although you might be tempted to memorize them all at once, you’ll probably have a hard time retaining any of them. Focus on memorizing five to 10 instead. After you’ve gotten those down, you can always add more to your repertoire.

Turn on keyboard shortcuts in Gmail:

Here’s the complete list of Gmail shortcuts.

  1. Go to your Gmail settings.

Screen shot showing how to get to gmail settings

  1. Find “Keyboard Settings” under the “General” tab and choose “Keyboard shortcuts on.”

Screen shot showing where ti select "Keyboard Settings"

  1. Go to the “Labs” tab.

Screen shot showing how to get to the "Labs" tab

  1. Scroll down to the “Custom keyboard shortcuts” box and click “Enable.”

Screen shot showing "Custom keyboard shortcuts" 

Turn on keyboard shortcuts in Inbox by Gmail:

Here’s the complete list of Inbox by Gmail shortcuts.

  1. Hold down the Shift key while pressing the ? key.
  1. Flip the “Keyboard Shortcuts” toggle to “on.”

Screen shot showing how to turn keyboards shortcut toggle to on

Here’s the complete list of Outlook shortcuts. (Shortcuts are automatically turned on.)


5) Use a Text Expansion Tool

 How often do you type the same short string of words or sentences? For instance, you might write, “Are you free for a call at [date and time]?” approximately 20 times per day. This snippet is only part of a larger message, so you can’t templatize it. However, there’s still a way to reuse it (and other brief strings) so you don’t need to constantly retype them: Text expanders.

Fortunately for Mac users, Macs support text expansion.

  1. Go to “System Preferences.”

  1. Choose “Keyboard.”

Screen shot showing how to choose "Keyboard"

  1. Select the “Text” tab. Enter the text you’d like to save along with a shortcut. As an example, “Call” might represent “Are you free for a call at [date and time]?”

Screen shot showing where to select the "Text" tab

Windows users will have to download an application. PhraseExpress offers a free option for text expansion, although the creators ask you to buy the paid version for commercial use.

Each of these hacks might save you a few seconds — and in the long run, those seconds will add up. The more time you spend on actual selling, the better you’ll perform.


Source: HubSpot