5 email productivity tips to boost your efficiency and make every moment count

Email productivity tips

“No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun…”

Like Pink Floyd sang, you know all about time. You know how it flies when you’re having fun. That’s a lie. Time flies even when you’re not having fun. But you know that too.

As a small business professional, your time is precious. You’re juggling half a dozen roles, running back and forth, and swapping hats at the drop of a hat (sorry, couldn’t resist!) to get things done. You want to make every moment count. Yet you spend a third of your day on emails. Sigh.

“No way,” you say, and I hear you, but it’s true. 

Emails have a tendency to hijack your day. It’s not just how much time you spend in the inbox, it’s how much email overload costs you in focus, energy, and, hence, productivity. A third of your day might be understating it. Let me illustrate.

Chances are you start your day like I do. You check your emails first so you don’t have to do so again. But then, when you’re knee-deep in work, you go back every time you hear a new ping.

Ping. A marketing newsletter? Archive. Back to work.

Ping. Client asking for an invoice? Remember to send it by evening. Back to work.

Ping. Money from a Nigerian prince? Spam. Back to work.

Ping. Internal project update? Okay, let’s take a quick look, and then back to work.

It’s eerily like Pavlovian conditioning, but worse. Each email is an interruption. You stop whatever it is you’re doing. You shift focus to the email, make a decision on it — read, to-do, delete, archive — and maybe take a few actions before you get back to what you were doing. But you don’t. You get distracted, and it takes way longer to get back than we all think. You lose 23 minutes to each interruption.

The worst part? It’s not all notifications and distractions. Moving, archiving, or deleting emails, keeping your calendar up to date, and setting up reminders all involve manual, repetitive action. Plus, all that back and forth between your email, calendar, word editor, and to-do apps costs you more in time and money.

TLDR; As a small business professional, you don’t have time to waste. But you do end up wasting time — on email. 

The good news is that there are ways to save time on email so you can focus on business. It’s not simply muting notifications (though that helps a bit) but automation such as creating email rules, using reply templates, and setting up follow-up reminders. From powerful email services such as Google Workspace or Outlook 365 to scheduling apps such as Calendly to task management tools such as Asana for follow-up reminders, and even automation software such as HubSpot — there’s no lack of tools for the job. That’s tools, in plural. And that means time and money, again.

Or you can try Titan, a customer-first email for professionals and small businesses that helps you save time and make every moment count. All it takes is a little know-how.

  1. Focus on what needs attention with Priority Inbox
  2. Set a few rules to reduce email overload
  3. Create Contact Groups for frequent collaborators
  4. Set follow-up reminders for business-critical emails
  5. Cut repetitive actions with one-click email templates

1. Focus on What Needs Attention with Priority Inbox

The cure to email overload? An organized inbox is automatically sorted so you don’t have to sift through tons of mail daily. Titan’s Priority Inbox learns from you — the messages you open, the ones you delete, people you frequently collaborate with, and keywords in your messages. So emails that are important to you are magically front and center. Everything else is moved off your plate, though you can always review all emails later.

In Titan, you can also manually add trusted collaborators and domains to your priority list so filtering is more accurate and useful.

2. Set a Few Rules to Reduce Email Overload

Marketing newsletters? Promos? Receipts? Every professional gets a few such emails each day, messages we want to check but don’t need to act on. So what do we do? We either flag each email as it comes in (maybe to a “read later” folder) or we let them pile up into a mess. One is a repetitive, manual action. The other is, err, messy.

Enter rules in Titan. Rules allow you to move and flag incoming emails to organize your inbox and reduce notifications automatically. If you’ve used rules in Outlook or Gmail in the past, you know what to do. If you haven’t, doing so in Titan is ridiculously easy. A few clicks and most emails are archived, moved to specific folders, or even deleted, so there’s less noise.

3. Create Contact Groups for Frequent Collaborators

Are you sending regular emails to a group of collaborators and still manually punching in each contact? You’ve got better things to do. Create a contact group in a few clicks so you can save many minutes on every follow-up. You simply select a group, and all contact emails are filled in.

Speaking of follow-ups, we’ve all missed one or two because we simply forgot to jot it down. And you know that a failed follow-up is a lost opportunity. Well, not anymore…

4. Set Follow-Up Reminders for Business-Critical Emails

Circling back to your customers at the right time is easier when you can set quick reminders from your inbox. So is it an invoicing email or a webinar invite? Simply tell Titan when to nudge you to follow up. There are fewer lost opportunities, better customer conversations, and less scrambling around. What’s not to like about that?

The icing on the cake? The next time you receive one of those needs-action-but-not-urgent emails halfway through your day, you can simply set a follow-up reminder to “snooze” until you’re ready for it and then get back to what needs attention. 

5. Cut Repetitive Actions with One-Click Email Templates

Follow-ups or not, a lot of your time in the inbox is spent drafting the same kind of messages. Sales emails, customer quotes, hiring conversations, investor pitches, and, yes, follow-ups too. You end up typing them from scratch, again and again. Or maybe you’ve compiled a doc of common responses, but finding the right one in that pile is a chore too. 

Or you can use Titan’s email templates to quickly fire off the perfect message each time. There are about a dozen email templates for a variety of business scenarios built in, but you can easily create your own. Just hit compose, and look for the email templates icon. A few clicks and you save minutes, if not hours, of your time each week.

We won the battle, but what about the war?

Email hijacks your day, but it doesn’t have to. There’s a lot more you can do with Titan to make every moment count for your business — enabling read receipts for better follow-ups, scheduling messages for the best time, or even setting up a catchall business email — but these easy tweaks are a great place to start. 

Last updated on August 23rd, 2022

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