Need a quick fix for a flooded inbox? Climbing Mount Email can be daunting—it feels at times like you’ll never actually get through it. Just when you think you’ve reached the summit, you receive a dozen more emails and have to keep climbing. Argh!
I know how you feel! We just went on an epic hiking trip in the [non-metaphorical] mountains with our kids. The one catch? No cell service. This has its great advantages, but there was one disadvantage: no way to take 5 minutes during our trip to flag things, quickly reply where needed, and delete things to make it easy for my return.
Here’s how I quickly got to 0 in my post-vacation inbox this week—and how you can conquer your inbox every week using 3 simple email hacks!
- Speak your emails instead of typing them. This will cut your reply time in half! The free voice to text plug-in for Gmail (for Chrome) is magical! I dictate most of my text messages and email replies on my phone (faster and hands-free) and I do the same on my desktop. It takes a short period of getting used to speaking your words and adding punctuation (“Hi comma Emily exclamation point”), but once you get the hang of it after a couple of tries, you won’t go back! I sometimes correct a couple of things or change formatting here and there manually, but using the text-to-type function cuts my typing time in half. Big win!
- Canned responses in Gmail. There’s nothing canned about them! When I bake, I start with a recipe and I add various things to it depending on what sounds good—or what the kids like! A little extra cinnamon, allspice, almond extract to pancake mix makes them doubly delicious. This is how I look at Canned Responses for Gmail. You start with a structure and customize it to suit the needs of the relationship or situation at hand. For example, I still get tons of press releases for wedding things from our days with Southern Weddings. I have a canned response handy to let these agencies know about our transition and thank them kindly for their note. This helps me love people well and quickly—with links and text ready to go!
- Give your replies a personal touch—and reply faster—by sending a voice memo. I have done this for years! I get a lot of longer-form emails from friends and readers. This is one of the joys of my work to be able to send a personal response, not just through a typed email, but using my voice. Using the voice memo app on my Mac gives a personal touch and it’s faster than typing an epic response to personal life and goal challenges. Just open Voice Memos, record, and attach to your emails!
Bonus tip: If you don’t know about keyboard shortcuts on your phone, DO IT NOW. For instance, I’m often thanking readers and telling them, “I’m so grateful you’ve been encouraged!” in comments. I made a short code. I just type in “ggg” and that sentence populates. These are words from my heart and I can spend less time on my phone by using this shortcut!
I have long said to myself in times of inbox overload that email is just a bunch of decisions to make, so make decisions! I’m passing that same encouragement to you. I hope these 3 tips help you to not just get your email done, but to love people well as you do!
Your turn! Do you have an email hack that helps you? I’d love to know!
P.S. I have a LIFE hack for you, too!