It’s the same old story. You wake up, head out to the office or over to your computer, open your inbox —and there it is. A thousand emails mean a wasted morning navigating through work mail, newsletters, app receipts, old birthday messages, and all the other stuff that clutters up your life.
It’s a sad fact that, while email is a brilliant communications tool, there’s just too much chaos getting in the way. We send a mind-boggling 319 billion emails every day, expected to rise to 376 billion by the end of 2025. A lot of these are useless, wasting time, energy, and resources.
Things don’t have to be this way! The dream of an email that works for you is real. You can take back control of your inbox and enjoy better email organization both at work and in your personal life. We’re not saying that it’s easy, but it can be done, and we’re here to help you do it. We’re going to take a look through the top 10 email management tips to get your inbox organized as well as how Spike can help take your email management game to the next level.
Why Use Email Management Tips When You Can Use Spike?
Spike lets you chat naturally with the people who matter most to you, sorts your inbox seamlessly and organizes your email effectively. It’s like email and instant messenger had a baby. A baby that was much more beautiful than its parents. A baby that grew up and went to an ivy league.
You can use it on any device, you can send your newsletters to our “Other” inbox using Priority Inbox, and you can plan your days from Calendar. Stealth Encryption keeps all your data safe, with File Manager and Advanced Search features designed to keep your documents organized. The best part, however, is Spike is designed with people in mind–letting you chat seamlessly with the people who matter to you with Conversational Email.
You don’t need to use a million other productivity tools. You have everything you need in a single place, and it ALL works with your regular email. Spike clears the clutter and makes it easier to communicate—just like in real life.
That said, if you want to sort your current inbox, here are the ten best ways to manage your emails.
Set Dedicated Time - Blocked Time
The first step towards better email management is ensuring that it doesn’t take over your entire day. In practice, this means setting aside a dedicated (and limited) block of time in which to read, respond to, and write emails. Time blocking can be a way to organize your entire day and is basically where you segment your work into predefined chunks of time.
So, for your emails, you could set aside 9 am to 9:30 am to read and respond to emails, and then again from 4 pm to 4:30 pm. This will stop you from being distracted by emails throughout the day and let you focus on actual work. Just make a task list from the emails in the morning and work through it step by step.
“Half an hour? That’s not enough time!”
That’s true if you carry on dealing with emails like it’s 1999. Once you have your time blocks set aside for email, it’s time to make how you deal with them as efficient as possible so you’re not running over your limit and being less productive.
Subfolders and Labels
If you walked into your office and there was paperwork strewn about the desk, walls, and floor, you wouldn’t know where to start. Why would you think your emails are any different? Organization is key, and this starts with subfolders and labels.
The OG folders of email are inbox, sent, etc., and subfolders help you break down messages into more specific categories. For example, this could be done by divisions in a company, clients, or projects. Remember that you can create trees of folders, just like on your computer, so you could have emails sorted by the project within a single client file.
To further organize your emails, you can also start using labels. Depending on your email client, these show up in your inbox for a quick overview of how messages relate to one another. Labels allow for a more granular organization as well as cross-organization.
For example, all emails from the marketing team could be labeled “Marketing” but stored in various client subfolders. Having messages organized helps you navigate quickly and build a picture of your workflow, boosting productivity and keeping you clear of an email avalanche.
Create Rules and Filters
You’ve created a label for your marketing team, but do you want to spend all your designated email time selecting that label on every message? No, of course not. That’s why you use rules and filters to help your emails go where they need to go.
For example, you can click on a message from a member of the marketing team, create a rule (or filter) so that all similar messages will be labeled “Marketing” and put into the “Internal Teams” subfolder.
Now all similar messages will be sorted without you even needing to open your inbox. Rules and filters help automate your organization which frees you up to focus on your workday and be more productive. You’ve streamlined your incoming messages, but there are also ways to streamline the outgoing ones, such as templates.
Create Templates for Fast Responses
How many of the emails that you send in a day look almost identical? So how much time could you save by not having to write them out over and over again? A lot is the answer, and with email templates, you don’t even run the risk of accidentally copy-and-pasting somebody else’s name.
Creating templates for your most common email formats can optimize your workflow and ensure that you get everything done in time. Knowing that you’ll always have the right thing to say can bring peace of mind at work and thus lead to greater focus and productivity.
Some templates will be personal to you, but others, like a basic customer service message or collaboration email, can be used right off the shelf. Just be sure to follow the import rules of email templates, so you don’t end up sounding like a robot.
Use the 20-80 System
The 20-80 rule, also called the Pareto Principle, states that 80% of outcomes result from 20% of causes. When it comes to email, this means that 80% of useful outcomes are likely to be generated from only 20% of your messages.
What this means for your email management is that you should:
- Identify the important 20% of emails (by type, contact, subject, etc.)
- Focus the majority of your energy on these emails.
This way, you’re not wasting time on messages that won’t help you be productive or advance your day in any way.
Keep Your Replies Short and Simple
How often do you just hit ‘reply’ and type up a storm, rather than taking a second to gather your thoughts and plan out what you want to say? In fact, this is no longer just an email management tip, but a useful tool whenever you communicate with others. Take a breath, choose your words wisely.
Keeping your messages concise yet comprehensive means you can write an email in half the usual time. It also has the knock-on effect of ensuring any replies are direct and to the point, helping you manage longer threads more easily, getting the information you need the first time.
Remember that most people are just as busy as you are so you won’t have that much focus. Use bullet points and a clear message structure to get your point across.
Set Snooze on Important Emails You Didn't Respond to Yet
Sometimes, you’ll have an important email that you simply can’t respond to in your designated time. Maybe you need some hours to mull over your ideas, or perhaps you’re waiting on a piece of work to come to you?
Whatever the reason, there’ll be a time when you need to leave an email until later in the day but absolutely can’t forget about it. This is where snooze functions come in. Snoozing an email will make sure you don’t forget it while freeing you up to focus on other work.
You can set it to pop back up in your other allotted email times or even the following day, but you never have to worry about it being lost in the mix again.
Don’t be Scared of Smart(phones)
At any given moment, there are probably a million different articles preaching the horror of smartphones and their part in the erosion of the traditional work/life balance. Just Google it, we dare you. However, while we’d never condone keeping that little bundle of silicon and lithium-ions under your pillow at night, they are an absolute marvel when used conscientiously.
Got nothing better to do on the train? Whip out your phone and craft a few short and sweet replies. Want to catch up on what’s happening in the wonderful world of home pickling and preserving? Check your newsletters for the latest vinegar-soaked recipes. Stuck in another boring and useless meeting? Ahem…well, be careful.
The point is, as long as you can manage your screen time responsibly, then using your phone to cut down on the email you deal with at your desk is ideal. And pretty much what it was designed for, to be honest. This is especially true for non-work emails.
While newsletters and blog updates can be a nuisance at the desk, there is likely a reason that you signed up for them in the first place. Now is the moment to read those “other” emails about odd topics and things that interest you. That said, maybe it’s time to thin the herd just a little…
Ditch Old Newsletters and Notifications
Delete. Delete. Delete. It’s amazing that indispensable top-right key doesn’t jam up way before the rest of your keyboard. Sometimes, it can feel like email management is just about getting rid of the stuff you don’t want. However, there is a better way.
Start by unsubscribing from all those useless newsletters, bulletins, and daily updates you’ve collected throughout the years that you no longer need. You know the ones, Stamp Collecting Weekly, The Stiletto Gazette, Fox News. Next, turn off those useless notifications from Twitter, Facebook, Google, and the rest—even those from your favorite dating platform. In fact, especially those.
Once you’ve done all this, you’ll find that your email begins to clean up itself. You’ll receive less crap and have less to sort through each time you open up your email client. If you find you’re missing your Office Supplies Monthly fix, then try Spike’s Priority and Other inboxes. This way, all your notifications and newsletters will automatically be directed into a separate account for you to check later.
Practice Zen Mail
Although this one may take a little time to sink in, the art of sending fewer emails can be surprisingly effective. Especially when it comes to team email management, sending fewer emails means fewer responses to deal with and less additional input from other members of the team.
We know the urge to reply is strong. We know that all your contacts are desperate to hear from you every minute of the day. But, if you can intelligently sort which emails need a reply and which don’t, you’ll save yourself a bucket load of time and brainpower.
Imagine that each email you send costs you $1, then ask yourself, is this message worth $1? You’ll probably find that you’d be broke at the end of the day using your current habits. Get a little Zen with your email and let the urge to reply wash over you like a babbling brook.
Spike is the Perfect Solution for Email Management
Our ten email tips are all well and good, but we think there’s a better way. At Spike, our goal is to let our simple yet super powerful email management app do the talking. We believe that conversational email is the future, but more than that, we think you should be able to manage your life from a single app. Spike does the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to.
Why Email When You Can Chat?
Sometimes, a meeting could easily have been an email. Other times, an email could easily have been an instant message in a chat. You don’t always need the email format. Sometimes a quick update or a simple question will suffice. Using chat apps rather than emailing can help conversations flow more smoothly, avoid misunderstandings, and cut to the point – all improving productivity.
With Spike, you don’t have to choose, with an email interface that is as simple as any IM. Conversational Email cuts through the clutter for you, removing headings and signatures, leaving you with the heart of the message. You can talk with clients, team members, or anyone else via email, but have it look and act as simple as an instant messaging app.
What’s more, if you want a more traditional view on any email, you can just tap to expand it, revealing all the information of a conventional thread.
Spike’s Priority Inbox Ensures You Stay Focused Throughout the Day
Sure, the ten tips for email management above can help organize your inbox and keep you focused, but what if there were an app that did that for you? Spike does just that with Priority Inbox, using an algorithm to send all non-relevant emails to an “Other” inbox, leaving you with a 100% focused email Inbox.
Forget a messy system of folders, labels, and rules to send messages to the right place – Spike delivers what you need when you need it—leaving you to get on with more interesting and productive things.
Feeling Overloaded with Emails? Try People Mode
When having a conversation, you talk with people, not subject lines. Why treat your emails any differently? Spike’s People Mode lets you organize your messages by contact, with all your communication available with a single click of a person’s name.
People Mode keeps everything you need right where you need it: emails, files, attachments, and more are all under an easy-to-identify profile pic. This cuts back clutter and makes navigating to important information a breeze, keeping you focussed on work and staying productive.
Optimize Your Time More Efficiently by Setting Email Timers
Snoozing emails so that you don’t forget important responses is one thing, but Spike allows for snoozing so that you stay on top of tasks. An email comes in Monday but doesn’t require attention until Wednesday? Not a problem. Spike can snooze it with the click of a button.
What’s more, this is combined with a powerful Send Later feature that lets you send an email when it suits you, even if you’re not at your desk. Have clients in other time zones and don’t want to disturb them? Hit Send Later. Working late and don’t want to drag a teammate into their inbox? Hit Send Later. Sending an outreach email and want it to get there at peak time? … You get the idea.
Snooze and Send Later from Spike help you stay on top of tasks and ahead of your emails, leading to better focus, more efficiency, and greater productivity.
How to Manage Emails: Quick Tips
These ten tips will help you to stay on top of your inbox, but if you’ve scrolled to the bottom of the article without wanting to read through them all, then follow these simple rules:
- Watch the clock, and don’t let emails invade your whole day
- Organize your inbox and make your email client work for you
- Keep things to the point
- Cutaway anything you don’t need
Alternatively, if you haven’t got the time to read ten tips, then you probably haven’t got time to worry about managing your inbox. So instead, check out Spike today for an app that manages your email for you (as well as so much more).