14 Surprising Email Productivity Tips

14 Email Productivity Tips That Will Help You Get More Done

Struggling with too many emails? Spending too much time clearing your inbox instead of doing more important things? Check out these email productivity tips that will help you tame your email once and for all.


October 26, 2022

8 mins read

You know, there really is no point in sugarcoating this:

Email is a massive productivity drainer.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love email. But managing it can sometimes take up so much time, right?

The situation is even worse if you work in customer service, for examples. Then, you’re spending most of your day looking at emails. Without a system to manage it all, it’s easy to quickly drawn in new messages and notifications.

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Luckily, there are ways to overcome it, and I’m going to show you some of the best ones in this guide. Below, you’ll find 15 absolutely amazing email productivity tips that will help you tame the inbox and reclaim your time.

So, without any further ado…

15 Email Productivity Tips that Absolutely Rock

Email productivity hacks can save hours and help you focus on the day’s essential tasks.

Things that you will start doing after setting up an email productivity system:

  • Closing support tickets faster
  • Having enough time to offer proper resolutions to customers
  • Getting more done in lesser amount of time

As a customer service executive, you must reply to the clients within a stipulated time frame, but setting up a strategy and assigning a few hours to each task can improve your efficiency. Otherwise, you might delay resolving a past issue if you cater to a new customer issue that popped up on your email without solving the prior one.

Here are practical email productivity tips to make you the master of your inbox.

1. Limit your time for checking emails

As a CS executive, you don’t just want to spend time checking multiple emails and resolving none. This is why you must block your calendar and assign a time to check emails. It would help if you had a start time as well as an end time for the same on your calendar.

Using the Pomodoro Technique is a good idea. You check your inbox for 25 minutes and try to sort as many emails as possible. Then, take a break and work on resolving issues that will take up your time. It can include connecting with the customers, presenting them with a solution, speaking to your higher-ups regarding a resolution and more.

Try to block different cycles of 25 minutes in the entire day. This method will help you to stay on track and close many support tickets.

2. Delete emails that you don’t need

Pretty simple, isn’t it? Yet most people don’t practice deleting emails. Unnecessary clutter in your inbox can hamper your productivity. Start deleting emails that you won’t need in the future. When you have fewer emails in your inbox, you’re able to find the necessary ones too. Deleting emails daily could be a tedious task, hence, try to go through a decluttering spree at the end of every month.

3. Have a set of canned responses

Canned responses save you time spent in answering repetitive queries. You can create your own canned responses by:

  • Go to Settings > Advanced Settings
  • Enable Templates

The canned responses you create should be for both long and short questions. Canned responses for things like kick-off mails, buying time to respond, following up and forwarding support requests can be created. You must also ensure that the canned responses are being updated regularly.

Canned responses feature in a help desk software.

4. Use Email Folders

Segregate your work by creating folders in your email to help you focus on a particular task without disturbance.

Folders are also known as labels, and this simple hack of placing useful emails under topical clusters can help you to organize your mailbox. You will also better understand what’s coming in and going out.

An average professional is said to send 33 new emails and receive 88 emails per day. So, gathering everything related to one topic will be daunting without a folder.

You can make folders like:

  • Create specific main email folders like pending resolution tickets, closed tickets, training tasks, etc.
  • Create subfolders under main folders. For example, your main folder can be “Internal Team”, and the subfolders can be “HR Team”, “Sales Team”, and so on.
  • Make folders to clear your inbox. If you need to keep certain emails just for records, shift them to a folder so that your primary inbox is clutter-free.

To create folders in Gmail:

  • Go to Settings > Labels Tab
  • Click on Create New Label
  • Name the Label and Save it

With folders, you can avoid deleting emails altogether. Also, create a folder for pending support tickets and fix a time in the day to cater to them. In this way, you will be able to solve tickets in less than 24 hours.

5. Add a self-explanatory email signature

As a customer service executive, it is a good idea to add a FAQ list of common questions and queries in your email signature. Add simple questions with crisp answers. Do not write a lot of content as it will clutter the view of the email for the customer.

Additionally, you can include direct links to FAQs on your website. If you are wondering how this will help with email productivity, then remember that customers usually click on such links and if they have additional queries, they might read these answers and resolve them on their own.

If you already add direct links to FAQs, then customers can always revisit them by just finding your email. They will avoid generating support tickets for such common queries and you can focus on complex issues.

6. Try the 1-touch and 5-minutes rule

The 1-touch and 5-minutes rule is a great hack to help you get through your emails quickly. According to the 1-touch rule, if you have opened an email, you must take action on it. Be it re-routing, resolving or marking for later, but an action must be taken.

The 5-minute rule says that when you’ve opened an email, you must ask yourself if you can resolve it within 5 minutes. If you cannot, you must move on to the next email.

These two rules save you time and avoid duplicacy of efforts. Having said that, these rules are not set in stone. You can bend and shape these rules according to your needs.

7. Use the snooze button

Have you heard of Google’s Snooze Button? It’s precisely like your alarm snooze button. You can receive emails at any point in the day. You cannot control that, but you can always choose to snooze them and cater to them later.

As a customer service representative, you might receive many daily emails. You may miss an important email when you mentally note attending to it later.

But, with the snooze button, this will not happen as you can snooze the email for your preferred date and time so that you don’t forget about it.

You can even use this feature when mailing an essential client for follow-ups. Once you send the email, snooze it for 2-3 days, and you will receive a follow-up notification accordingly.

8. Filter your emails

Sorting out the numerous emails you receive everyday manually can be a difficult task. To make it easier, you can easily set up a filter in your email tool and save yourself some time.

You can set filters for customer-related emails, team emails and internal communication. The segregation will declutter your inbox—making it easier to manage your emails.

To set filters in Gmail:

  • Go to settings.
  • Click on “filters and blocked addresses.
  • Click on “create a new filter” to create one.

You can set rules to automatically segregate your emails based on keywords, senders and more.

9. Take charge of your inbox

Understand that you have control over your inbox. Take actions to regulate what you want or don’t want. It is necessary to unsubscribe, block and engage.

Your email app picks up signals through your activity in the mailbox. It helps the algorithm to determine if you want to see emails often from a particular sender.

If you open unwanted emails and leave them there, this could be the reason why you have them in the first place.

For example, Gmail has three in-built labels, like Primary, Social and Promotions tabs. Gmail automatically moves bulk and marketing emails to the Promotions tab. Similarly, all messages from social media apps are displayed in the social tab.

However, marketers sending promotional emails will always aim to land in the primary inbox as people are likely to open those messages. So, as a reader, when you open emails from your promotions tab, your app will start sending them to your primary inbox.

Instead, educate your inbox by blocking, unsubscribing or engaging with emails that you like or don’t like. It will increase your email productivity as you receive content you want to see.

Some tips that can help you take control of your inbox:

  • Unsubscribe from email newsletters that are just sitting in your inbox and you never read them.
  • Mark unwanted emails as spam as it deletes the message and teaches your app’s algorithm to understand what you consider spam.
  • Avoid providing your work emails to shopping apps, third-party websites and more, as it will help you to focus on your work messages more.

10. Use keyboard shortcuts

Keystrokes can help you move faster through your inbox so you can take things off your inbox and put them on your to-do list. This one thing will save you hours of looking through your inbox to complete a pending task.

Your email app has a lot of intelligent shortcuts that are easily accessible and easy to learn. Initially, you might take some time to understand them. But once you implement them frequently, you’ll be able to effortlessly integrate them into your work day—saving hours worth of time!

Most apps, like Gmail or Outlook, have default keyboard shortcuts. Alternatively, you can even change them based on your preferences.

11. Evaluate your email responses

Before you respond to a support query you must evaluate your response. When you put thought into a reply, you’re usually giving the best reply possible.

So before replying, ask yourself:

  • Do I need to answer this email?

Certain emails are just informational or a part of internal team communication. So, archive them or send them to your “Done” folder.

  • Can I acknowledge the email with a “Yes” or “Noted” option?

Email apps like Gmail give canned suggestions, and sometimes you can choose to reply with them.

  • Can I finish this in less than 5 minutes?

As a customer service executive, thinking about your response is essential as you represent a brand, but overthinking it will waste your time. Sometimes done is better than perfect when replying to customer emails, so that a simple reply can work instead of a perfect one.

  • Will this answer create more questions in the mind of the receiver?

Be smart about how you respond to your emails. Stick to the topic and avoid steering more questions into your customer’s mind, as this habit will benefit you in the long run.

12. Minimize back-and-forth emails

Back-and-forth emails means more time spent on a single query—and that’s never beneficial. For customer service executives, it can even mean that the support ticket is not closed for a longer time. To avoid such instances, you must write emails that contain complete information.

For example, as a customer service representative, stick to the solution if you are attending to a particular customer issue. Do not mention irrelevant or extra details that confuse your customers—leading to the conversation taking a different route.

Reducing the scope of back and forth also means actively listening to a customer’s problem and asking all questions at once. Make sure you’re clear about the problem before you start solving it.

Also, avoid open-ended questions like, “Does this make sense” instead, say, “Let me know if you have any questions.”

As a customer service provider, you will have to lead the conversation. Of course, ensure the customer receives the right solution but avoid dragging it for no reason.

13. Separate sorting, reading and replying activities

Many professionals switch between sorting one email, reading another and responding to a third one. You can lose much focus while switching between emails. Instead, focus on one activity at a time. Start by sorting emails and then shift to reading them correctly, as you need to be informed to reply to the messages.

14. Prioritize your paid customers

In customer support, you cannot treat every customer in the same way. Customers using your premium service should be given priority over free customers. Paid customers are always more vocal about their dissatisfactions if they do not receive optimum service. Let’s not forget, they are more likely to leave negative feedback.

On the other hand, free customers might not be as demanding or vocal as paid customers. However, it does not mean that you should ignore your free customers or not give them proper service but you can always set your priorities properly.

Start your work day by checking emails from paid customers and replying to them. Next, cater to free customers. You also need to have a system to segregate both of them so that you are not distracted with various support tickets from paid and free customers. Adding labels for this can make things smooth for you.

15. Use an Email Productivity Tool

Emails are an integral part of any customer executive’s life. You cannot escape them, but having a system to organize and attend to them can help you a lot.

It may get overwhelming to keep being productive with your emails. This is where an email productivity tool helps you. The right tool will automate productivity for you!

We at Keeping, help you stay productive with your emails. If you’re a customer support executive that handles customer requests via email—Keeping is the perfect solution for you.

Keeping converts your Gmail into a fully-featured support desk. You are able to assign tickets, track them better and get them resolved quickly. If you’re ready to start getting productive with your emails, start here.


Sanjana Sankhyan is a freelance writer who specializes in delivering data-driven blog posts for B2B SaaS brands. She helps businesses attract more audience and sales with her writing. If not writing, you’ll find her helping other freelancers improve their work. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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