Hi all – it’s time for our monthly Tech Tip. Today I’m going to share how to manage email. If you write a blog, you may be swamped by email, and if you don’t stay on top of it, that inbox number can quickly get to the triple or (gulp) quadruple digits. I thought I had a lot when I was teaching and getting 10 emails/day. Little did I know! But I’ve recently discovered 3 things that I LOVE for managing my email.
So, the 3 Tools I’m going to talk about are:
- Canned Responses
- Gmail Filters
- Mailbox App
I should say right here and now that all these tools only work with Gmail. But even if I wasn’t already a Gmail user, it would be worth it to me to have my stuff forwarded to a Gmail account just so I could use these things.
Alright, the first is Canned Responses. Do you find yourself writing the same emails over and over? I was. But now I don’t have to – I just send a canned response. Here’s how to install these and use them.
First, make sure you’re logged into your Gmail account. Click the gear icon at the top, then click on Settings. (And yes, marvel at my empty inbox – follow these tips and yours will soon be empty too!)
Once in Settings, find the tab that says Labs.
Scroll down to see the Available Labs, and Enable Canned Responses.
To write, save or use a Canned Response, first open a new email. Write the canned response, then click the More Options icon at the bottom of your compose window. A pop up will appear. Choose “New canned response”
Enter a name for your canned response, hit OK and it’s saved.
To use the canned responses in the future, open a new email, hit the more options arrow and then select your canned response from the list under “Insert”. Add your canned response first, then customize if needed. If you try to customize then add a canned response it will erase everything you wrote and overwrite it with the canned response.
OK, time saver #2 – Gmail Filters. This one’s easy. While logged in to your Gmail account, type an address in your search bar that you want to filter mail from. For example, I filter the automatic receipts I get every time someone buys a pattern. You can start typing part of the address (Like “Amazon”) and Gmail will find suggestions below, then you click on the address you want to use.
Once you click on or type an address, click the down arrow on the right of the search box to show search options. One of the options, bottom right, will be “Create a filter with this search” Click that an another box opens up like the one I show below:
Simply click the options you want. So on my receipt filter, it applies my Receipts label, then automatically archives the receipt. That way I still have it if I need to search it (say someone is having download issues and emails me) but it’s not in my inbox. Yay for timesaving! You can even have it send canned responses to certain people automatically (though I’d suggest caution in setting this up).
Finally, #3 – the Mailbox App. This is not just specific to Gmail, but also to iPhone and iPad. But still, if you have that combination of technology, it’s SUPER helpful. You can read more about it on their website, but in a nutshell here’s what it does: It lets you go through your email very quickly, and leave in your inbox only the things you need to respond to today.
So every morning I open my mail through Mailbox first. Sales flyers (when I’m not shopping) – swipe all the way the the right to delete. Blog comments I need to respond to – leave in inbox or respond immediately. Responses to me that I no longer need to respond to – swipe slightly right to archive. Guest posting details for something I’ve agreed to do – swipe left and set them to COME BACK TO MY INBOX LATER. Genius! So I can pick a date when I’m ready to deal with something. For a guest post I might set it to come back a week ahead, when I know I’m going to write the post. If it’s something I know I’m going to send a canned response for, I might set it to come back “Tonight” when I know I will be answering emails. And then you get pretty pictures like this:
And an empty inbox! Plus, this app is currently free – awesome, huh? By the way, I have 0 affiliation with Mailbox App, I just think it’s pure genius and it is a huge part of keeping me from feeling overwhelmed by email.
So, there you go. Tackle that inbox – you have no more excuses!