What is the first thing you did this morning when you arrived into your office and turned on your computer?

 

Let us guess: Email.

If our surmise was right, well, you shouldn’t feel bad – email occupies 23% of the average employee’s workday, 28% of their total work week and an average employee checks his or her email 36 times an hour. Not very promising statistics to begin with.

Email plays a huge role in our work and personal communication; in fact, we’re willing to bet you have yours open in another tab right now. However, many people who rely on them so heavily, also feel the pressure of being buried alive in the onslaught of incessant messaging. The problem is, most of them actually believe that is has to be that way. It doesn’t.

We’ve already discussed the problem of emailing during your office hours and Duškić made some good points about how to manage those. These are some universal guidelines on how to optimize your overall email time, but there’s one thing that should be added to this story: not all important emails are equally important. There are roughly 3 types of emails:

  • Emails from your clients or customers that you usually want to deal with as soon as possible;
  • Emails from your colleagues that need to be responded to in due time, which you may find tiresome, but still necessary;
  • Those subscribed and all other kinds of non-urgent emails, which clutter your inbox and consume your time and energy without much favor in return.

 

Although the last could pretty much be resolved by unsubscribing (provided you don’t suffer from FOMO, filtering and nesting in labels), the first two types are usually the ones that make your head hurt. The additional problem appears when communication with your clients/customers needs to include communication with your colleagues. If you are an entrepreneur, or business manager, a team leader, or your position requires managing people in any kind, you know this agony far too well. So do we.

Because clients and customers are different and have varying technological backgrounds, no matter what type of industry you’re in chances are that your correspondence with them will be and already is, via email.  As it’s easier, the likelihood is that those emails will simply be forwarded to the employee or team member whose responsibility the current matter is. This is exactly where the chaos occurs – supposing that your business flourishes, you’re probably juggling with multiple projects, clients or customers; each of them engaging a considerable amount of persons from your company. Every little thing that needs to be done is sent separately, to multiple recipients, who all reply separately, then forward information to each other, reply amongst themselves, then send reports back, etc. etc. – you get the picture. The flow of information in this vicious cycle is doomed to turn the life of everyone inside into a never-ending nightmare. Been there, done that.

In situations like this, the best possible scenario is to, once again, give in to technology. There are numerous tools that arrange your mailbox in a way that streamlines all your business-related emails into categories, folders, or groups instantly, all in just couple of clicks. Some of the most valuable of these email apps are listed below:

 

1. Hiver

This tool turns your Gmail into a powerful helpdesk, by integrating different accounts into one dashboard. Here’s what it lets you do with your mail:

  •             Assign emails to team members and mark them done;
  •             Access shared mailbox and track tasks;
  •             Share labels with the entire team;
  •             Let you know when someone else is replying to an email;
  •             Notifies you about new tasks;
  •             Schedule emails to be sent later;
  •             Make emails come back to the inbox at a future date;
  •             Write notes on emails that get shared with the rest of the team;
  •             Create email templates, etc.

 

2. Yanado

Also optimizes your Gmail, but with a slightly different purpose – while Hiver integrates internal communication with the correspondence with your clients, Yanado allows you to reduce the amount of emails by converting them into tasks and reminders. What it does:

  •             Creates tasks and to-do lists from emails and adds them to projects;
  •             Manages project progress and tracks who is doing what in your team;
  •             Tracks project updates;
  •             Allows setting due dates and reminders on tasks (synced with Google Calendar);
  •             Enables delegating tasks and discussing details with team members;
  •             Improves search by using tags.

 

3. Kelluro

This tool was made for Microsoft Outlook users, where it increases team collaboration by making relevant email conversations accessible to coworkers in shared channels. This helps with distributing crucial information more effectively within the organization, while saving your time finding information and emails related to a project or department in dedicated channels.

 

4. Todoist

This is another Gmail-powered app that lets you convert emails into tasks, access to-do lists and collaborate on shared projects, all from within your email inbox. One more positive aspect is that its basic version is completely free.

 

Many companies that have been using some of the email apps listed above have reported simplified internal communication and client management, as well as optimized overall performance. In situations where customer-related correspondence needs to be integrated into the channels of internal communication, these simple yet powerful tools can turn your preferred communication channel into a complete collaboration and project management platform. Compared to the status quo, it will most definitely save your time and make your job and  life easier.