The question, “how can we make email more productive?” has been asked thousands of times, by bloggers, productivity experts, and people like you and me who rely on email as a primary means of communication.
Are you having problems with Email Management?
Many of us have proclaimed ourselves guilty for all the atrocities associated with our overcrowded inboxes. But that blame seems to be displaced. When “We the People” evolved email, we weren’t thinking about its future. We just created a tool that would allow us to easily communicate, and we admirably achieved that goal.
But when it comes to taking control over the information that arrives into our mailboxes, most email systems proved to be quite inadequate.
This drawback of email has led a lot of productivity consultants and freelancers to wage a crusade against email. Some influencers even went to the extent of conveying that email is inherently the bane of productivity, a tool that is “anti-productivity,” so to speak.. The result: an army of people that wanted to avoid email at all costs.
Collaborative team platforms, one proposed solution, were supposed to be an “email killer”, but instead of solving the problem, they’ve added yet another layer to an existing problem , pushing us further away from the true solution. But even these crusaders check their traditional email inbox at the end of the day, as not all communications can fit into a proprietary box.
When there is a format that has been so deeply entrenched in human culture, it is very hard – practically impossible – to get rid of it! It is hard to eliminate a tool that has been adopted by literally every user of the internet. This brings us back to reality, that email is here to stay, and that it will remain part of our daily computer use for a considerable amount of time.
This is what will make your email manager work
Bearing that in mind, we took a u-turn from what everybody else was doing, and fully embraced email. But in order to get the most out of email, we need to recognize the features that will overcome its drawbacks. We know what the key pain points are, will we be able to figure the solution that will definitively solve this growing issue.
In order to come up with a solution to make email work again, we need to address the pain points that led us to the clutter and long random lists that we face today:
1. Removing distractions – The average working American receives 120 emails per day. In an average 8-hour working day, that means that you get distracted every 4 minutes. We can easily see why our working environment needs to be separated from the stream of email notifications. We need to put email in its place, and limit the number of times we check email. The best way to go about this is to be able to just schedule your entire inbox for later, allowing yourself a peace of mind to just work on what is important.
2. Combining and organizing it with our other data – Email doesn’t play nicely with other programs we use, but more often than not, it is connected with other things we need to do in our day-to-day operations. Because we lack this feature in our email applications today, we face hardships that are a consequence of data duplication. We constantly navigate between files, emails and tasks that lack a natural connection in a single location.
3. Ability To Rename Subjects And Add Notes – The fact is that we are communicating with hundreds of different individuals, and because we are all unique, we express our subject lines in a very different manner. More often than not, these subject lines aren’t keyword optimized. Let’s not even venture to think about emails with a blank subject line!
4. Postponing it for later – Often, the email we received today is better suited to be addressed at a later date, but there it is: in today’s inbox. By the time it becomes due, it has become buried under hundreds of other emails that have been piling up in our inbox.
5. Sharing it with your coworkers – Emails frequently arrive at the wrong address. Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply share a message with your co-workers, allowing them to reply to those emails relevant to them, rather than having to forward it to the next person, duplicating the information and workload?
We’ve seen numerous companies and startups tackling one or two of these five pain points, which resulted in half-baked products that didn’t quite result in an end solution with the power to make a true difference.
Addressing only one or two of these issues doesn’t solve the complicated puzzle we’ve developed for ourselves. Tackling them all at once requires a vision and a holistic approach yet to be seen.
What are your thoughts? What feature do you think is critical in solving the email puzzle? Let us know in the comments section.