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Sunday, November 11, 2018

EMAIL SHORTCUTS

overflowing mailboxEmail is a curse of our society. It is totally necessary, sometimes we like it, other times it takes WAY too much of our time and energy.  This article has a few recommendations for making the use of email smoother. 

SORT YOUR MAIL RATHER THAN READING ALL OF IT
When you are in a hurry glance through your messages and mark those that are important and need to be dealt with by putting a flag or star on them. It depends on which email program you are using if it is a flag or a star. Gmail uses stars and many others use flags. Later you can easily sort your mail by the flags or stars and go through the important messages when you have more time. 


DEAL WITH ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN GET RID OF QUICKLY
When you are doing your sort if there is a message that you can answer with a quick reply do it!  That way it gets out of your inbox and is dealt with. If you get advertisements that you don't want to see immediately scroll down to the bottom of the message, find the tiny print that says UNSUBSCRIBE and unsubscribe from their list. Most vendors want you to be happy and will immediately take you off of their list if you only ask. If you do it right away you can keep your inbox from filling up with unsolicited ads. You will have to keep up with it since there are always new ones, but it is easy if you do one at a time. 

USE A TEMPLATE (OR CANNED RESPONSE) FOR EMAILS YOU SEND REPEATEDLY
After writing a message in Outlook  go to File > Save As… > Outlook template, or search for preset Outlook templates that cover the most common ones. Then, click on Items > Choose Form… > User Templates when you’re ready to put that pre-saved form to use. 

screenshotIn Gmail there are two ways to do this. The older one is called Canned responses. If you want to use this first you need to enable it. To do that go to Settings (the Gear icon) and choose Advanced. Then find Canned Response and enable.






settings menu

To use it you compose an email message and after you have written everything except the "to" line (also delete your signature, so it does not appear twice) then go to the three dots in the bottom right corner of the window. Choose Canned Response and then new canned response. It will be saved and ready for the next time you choose Compose and have a new message. Then you can click on the three dots and choose Canned Responses and you will see the email you wrote in the list.

There is a second possibility, but it involves signing into another service and I am a little wary of that. It may be just fine, but I want to do a bit of research first. Here is how it works. In Gmail start to compose a message. Then click on the little icon at the bottom of the compose window that looks like a document. This will connect you to something called CloudHQ. It is more than I can write about here, but if you sign up for it you will have access to lots of templates and be able to create your own and access them right from a message. I will write more about CloudHQ in another post.

SAVE TIME WHEN SEARCHING FOR PAST EMAIL MESSAGES
There are two ways to make finding past email messages easier. You need to find the best way for you, but once you have set it up and use it you can save huge amounts of time. 

  • Create folders and for the messages that you may want to find again have a good system of saving them. Archive or delete all the rest of your mail so that your inbox can be fairly empty after it has been read.  In most programs when you create a new folder it is on the left side and you can just drag messages from the right and drop them into the correct folder.
  • If you use Gmail I have found that the search function works really well. What I do is to archive almost all of my read messages. They are compressed then and saved in a very small format, so my mailbox does not get jammed. When I need something I just do a search and so far it is finding what I need!
WRITE MESSAGES AND SEND THEM LATER
Sometimes you have time to write something, but do not want to send it right away.  In Outlook you can choose Options > Delay Delivery > Do not deliver before. In Gmail there is an add on called Boomerang that allows you to designate when you want a certain email sent. 

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