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THE Email Hack That Saves Me at Least ONE HOUR a Day

Did you know it’s possible to get to each and every email that hits your inbox and SAVE one hour each day?

I’m not losing my mind here – stick with me.

That’s right, one small but powerful email hack can save you one hour a day in your inbox.

It’s a trick I learned a few years ago and just did it.

I didn’t think too much about it.

Just implemented and went about my day.

Until a friend asked me about it late last year.

And then I received a few more questions about it.

That was my signal and I HAD TO SHARE IT WITH YOU!

Today, we’re talking about the ultra-sexy topic of email filtering.

How do I do it?

How do do I save an hour of my day?

Well, even though I am disciplined about my inbox and always aim for Inbox Zero each day, I still have that urge to act on new emails the moment I see them.

I haven’t been able to rewrite that habit yet, so I trick myself.

I set up specific barriers for my email.

First, and this is was the game-changer for me, I use email filters to my advantage.

Traditionally, when you receive email, it goes into the Gmail inbox, which is the first screen you see when accessing Gmail in your browser.

Since I access Gmail from different points, like a quick link in my browser bar, or the quick-link while in Google Calendar, or the quick-link from Google Drive, all of which point to the main inbox, I needed a way to not have new emails land in that main inbox.

My hack is that I set up a filter so that ANY EMAIL SENT TO ME is immediately and automatically filtered out of my inbox and into a holding pen folder. I call it “*incoming” (using the asterisk so that the folder is at the top of the alpha order).

That’s right – I filter the emails to my address. Usually, we filter emails for a specific keyword or sender, but I have every email coming to my email address filtered.

Oh, and I have the filter set up to automatically mark the email as “read” so that I don’t see the bold unread email number creeping up in the left-side menu each time I access my inbox.

So now that I have the automated email filters working for me, this is where my discipline comes in.

I only go into the *incoming folder twice a day, at the very beginning and very end of the day.

Sometimes there are projects where I need to refer back to an email or there’s a link that someone sent me that’s in an email. They’re what I’ll call active emails.

Active emails are held in the main inbox, the one I immediately see when I first jump into my inbox.

I can access active emails without seeing that there are unread, new emails piling up, which saves on the mental energy for sure. It’s like the saying “ignorance is bliss”, in the best way.

I just go about my day because I’m totally ignorant to the fact that emails are coming into my inbox.

It’s exactly how I’m able to stay out of the weeds of my inbox and business.

Here’s a snapshot of how my email routine looks:

7:00am (start of day) – Scan of inbox and:

  • respond to any emails if it will take no more than 2 minutes
  • send a quick acknowledgment for emails that will take longer to fully address
  • move client task requests to a project management software and/or main inbox

3:00pm (end of day) – Scan inbox and:

  • respond to any emails if it will take no more than 2 minutes
  • send a quick acknowledgment for emails that will take longer to fully address
  • move client task requests to a project management software and/or main inbox

You probably have a sense of my email discipline by now. But, I’m not immune to the “hey, I’m on my phone so I’ll just pop into my inbox for a quick sec” urge.

So I made a promise to myself that only the most important business email correspondence is conducted via a mobile device. If it isn’t ultra important, it’ll be handled via my computer.

On my phone, I don’t have my business email installed on the native Apple Mail app. I use the Google-specific Gmail app and hide it in a folder so that it’s a few clicks (instead of one) just to access it.

That means that 99.9% of my emails are checked, written and sent from my computer.

So there you go…

… all emails addressed

… with less anxiety

… and less overwhelm

… plus more organization

… AND at least one hour more each day for you to work with clients or plan for your next speaking gig or bake cookies with your daughter.

Imagine what else you could do with that extra hour.

I’d love it if you tried this email hack for a week or two, then post below and let me know how it’s going for you. I’m waiting on the edge of my seat to hear from you.

P.S. I specifically talked about Gmail because that’s what I use for my business email. Here’s the standard Gmail how-to for setting up filters and also check out this article, which is much more informative.

If you use other popular inbox apps, like Outlook or Apple mail, you can set-up similar processes, or rules as they call it. Learn more here for Outlook and here for Apple Mail.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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