The ultimate business toolkit: 6 tools to keep your inbox under control

How to keep your inbox under control business tools

You might have guessed this already, but here at Verbatim we are big fans of streamlining the different aspects of your business.

Sometimes that might mean outsourcing, but sometimes it’s just about finding the right tools there to make your life easier.

Today we’re tackling emails, because we all spend so much time digging through our inboxes…

In fact, a study carried out by Carleton University concluded that we spend on average 17 hours per week on our emails… with 30% of that dealing with emails deemed unimportant and non-urgent.

Here are 6 of our favourite tools to help you tame your inbox and keep it that way:

To manage other people’s email expectations…

Tool: Your in-built autoresponder

If you always respond within minutes, you are training people to expect that from you. Consider drafting an autoresponder that outlines:

  • How frequently you check your emails (we recommend 2-3 times a day at set times)
  • How swiftly they can expect a response
  • Another way to contact you in case of emergency
  • A short list of FAQ’s (because you may be able to deal with their query without engaging directly)

To minimise the sheer numbers of emails you’re receiving…

Tool: “rolls up” all of the email newsletters you’re subscribed to and delivers them in one neat and tidy digest. This way you can dip in and read these all in one go rather than getting distracted throughout the day.

To action the emails that require input from you…

Tool: Sortd or Taskforce

Sortd and Taskforce are apps that allow you to create “to dos” from your emails. No more
forgotten stars and flag, just easy-to-action tasks.

To keep you motivated to clear through all those emails…

Tool: The Email Game

This one is just a little bit of fun. It’s an actual game designed to keep you focused as you process your emails. No more procrastination allowed!

To get ahead of tomorrow’s emails…

Tool: Boomerang

Boomerang enables you to craft emails ahead of time and schedule – perfect for if you’re catching up in the evening, but don’t want to send something out until the following morning.

To nurture those contacts showing up in your inbox…

Tool: Streak

Streak is an inbox-based CRM that helps you to stay on top of your customer relationship in a simple, streamlined way.

You can use each of these tools to simplify the way you manage your emails, and create whole new pockets of time where you can focus on your income-generating work.

Like I said at the start, we’re planning a whole series of “toolkits” to help you stay productive at work. What area of business would you like us to tackle next?

One comment

  • I used Boomerang for a while a few years ago, as a lot of my website support work tends to take place in the evening and at weekends, and so I find myself picking up and processing emails outside of normal hours. The danger of responding to emails outside business hours is not only that customers will start to expect it, but also that they too are likely to reply to you quickly (thereby creating a sort of out-of-hours email cycle).

    However, if you use Boomerang to send your reply next morning, you need to be careful that the customer hasn’t already followed up their original email in the meantime. making your delayed response pointless. The way around this would be to always schedule your Boomerang emails to be sent at, say, 10am the following day. This gives you the chance to get to your desk at 9am and check what is scheduled to go out – deleting or changing any scheduled emails as necessary.

    I also briefly tried Streak, but couldn’t really get on with it (the free version anyway).

    Here are a few productivity tools that I use in my business…

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