new dawn blog email shot 1554378_10100486249384843_1454547647_n

A New Dawn: Seven More Steps Toward Email Sanity

new dawn blog email shot 1554378_10100486249384843_1454547647_nOn Tuesday, I shared The First Step Toward Email Sanity, and I promised to give you five more tips today. But because I love you so much, I’ve gone the extra mile.

Here are SEVEN more steps toward email sanity.

That’s how much I love you–40% more than either of us realized.

Your email life is going to be unrecognizable. This will be like it got a drastic haircut and new glasses at the same time. And we need this. In a talk for Barna Frames Live yesterday, Claire Diaz-Ortiz pointed out, “Our devices can make us feel in control and peaceful or completely distracted and disengaged.”

Before I begin with the tips, let me answer your key question at this juncture, “Who are you to tell me what to do with my email account anyway?”

Well, first, I went a year not only without email but without electricity (you can read about that in our book). I went from that to an eventual U.S. job in communications. It was like switching from a drinking fountain to the proverbial fire hose. I needed to learn some coping mechanisms fast.

So I’ve learned a thing or two. Here you go…

1. Stop kidding yourself.

If you’re going to go back to them, do it, Hot Shot. If not, fess up. Declare email bankruptcy. And clear the decks. (Again, read all about this here.)

2. Set a time for it.

Nobody thinks that email doesn’t take any time. But most of us act like it. I do it in short bursts, generally first thing, at lunch, before leaving work, and sometimes a bit in the evening.

3. Do email on your phone.

You type less. You delete more. You take advantage of little gaps in your day. Win-win-win.

4. Get Mailbox.

This slick little app is what you need for processing your Gmail on your phone. It’s efficient and even a little fun…or at least more concretely satisfying. You swipe to trash or archive, making it much harder to kid yourself about needing that message. I think the muscle memory of swiping makes it more of a habit than clicking with a mouse or even a keyboard shortcut. Which takes us to…

5. Take a shortcut.

I’m not a fanatic user of keyboard shortcuts, but the few I use do save me time. You can find them using your Google Machine 3000. I printed them out and posted them at my desk.

6. Lose the folders.

I have no folders in Gmail, just Archive and Trash. You can search for that message from Zach or that thing about your kid’s science fair. That’s what search is for. At work, I just have Trash, Keep It (i.e. Archive), and a couple that are barely used (Story Ideas and Portfolio).

7. Unsubscribe and show no mercy.

Look back at your last month of email and unsubscribe from all that stuff you don’t really care about. It’s mental clutter. You are not really caring about that many things. Those daily deals are not really saving you that much money.

8. Send less email. Can we really all do this one? I mean, seriously.

What tips have I missed in making email a more efficient—and enjoyable—part of life? Leave a comment.