You’re sitting at your desk, furiously working to meet a deadline. Ping! The dreaded email pops up. You tell yourself not to look at it, to focus on your work – but it’s too late, the distraction has begun. Open, read, close. On average, it takes 64 seconds to get back to work after reading an email.
For a business, this can be disastrous. The average employee spends 28% of their working week reading and responding to email. Clearly, cutting down on email usage is a good way to prevent time wastage and keep work focused.
Thanks to the increasing advancements of the digital age, there are a number of tools to help keep employees and yourself on track.
Whether by intention of not, either you or your employees will have signed up to bulletins, news alerts and other subscriptions which flood your inbox – choking it and also distracting you with their free offers and other nonsense.
Unroll.me is a free tool that makes things simple. Sign up, connect your email account and you’ll see a list of services you’re subscribed to. You can either unsubscribe, collapse all of these emails into a ‘rollup’ or keep them as they are. Simple and effective.
A Chrome plugin that can be used with any email app, Complete makes sending email replies easy. It predicts and autocompletes words within an email to help cut down on the time you spend typing replies. You can keep typing as it performs multiple corrections – perfect for anyone in a hurry. As far as free apps go, this is a must-have.
Free for private plans
If you need a quick CRM app that can deal with distraction, this might be the fix you need. Gmail Snooze allows you to ‘snooze’ an email, which temporarily hides it from your inbox and then brings it back later. This is ideal for those emails that don’t demand an immediate response but need revisited. You can create automatic follow-up reminders too, meaning you’ll never miss an important email but can cut down on distraction.
A LinkedIn tool that allows you to see someone’s job title, social information and contact details in your email client, Rapportive helps cut down on the distraction of manually tracking down additional details about someone you’d like to chat to. The plugin allows you to connect with people on LinkedIn without leaving Gmail, see which connections you share and create mutual talking points before you even send an email.
14 day free trial, £4.85 per month
SaneBox helps clean up your inbox across any email account. If you’re suffering from email overload, it’s the ultimate tool to help cut down on time wastage. It automatically filters emails, tracks responses and gets rid of non-urgent emails. It works across any account too, so you can cut down on time wastage whether you’ve got an Office 365 subscription or a Gmail account. If you’re going to pay for any email management tool, this might be the best bang for your buck.
30 day free trial
If you’re running a business and need a comprehensive solution that doesn’t involve a multitude of other tools, you’ll need something powerful. Mail Manager by Oasys is an Outlook plugin that helps manage your emails – reducing storage space, minimising network traffic and filing emails in an intuitive fashion. Put simply, it manages your inbox and helps you get on with your day – across all platforms including most mobile devices.
Checker Plus for Gmail
If you work primarily in a browser, Checker Plus for Gmail is an app that will revolutionise the way you manage emails. It checks through multiple Gmail accounts, popping them up in a small notification plane on your screen. You can read, delete and mark importance with one click as well as set priority and importance. And, like all the best things in life, it’s completely free – but you’ll need Chrome to use it.
Free, paid corporate versions available
For anyone in your business involved in email marketing or outreach in a business, a subject line can be vastly important. You may end up spending far too long obsessing over a subject line to try and maximise the attention the email receives. MailChimp is a vast tool that can take care of lots of different aspects of your online marketing – but the ‘Subject Line Checker’ is a great tool that lets you test what works and what doesn’t across a database of over 7 million users.
Free and paid plans available
Boomerang gives an individual the ability to schedule emails to automatically be sent at specific times. This means you can draft up all of your emails in advance, schedule them and move on to other tasks. It’s a Gmail add-on, so is only useful for those using their Gmail accounts – but is ideal for all kinds of scheduling, since you can even send emails to yourself to remind you to complete tasks.
Free for personal use
If your business doesn’t have a time management system in place, My Hours is a free tool that’s handy for people who need to track their productivity across a day. While not strictly an email tool, you’ll be able to see exactly how much time you waste on emails. You can track using a browser or with a mobile app available to download from Google Play and the Apple Store.