Email is an important communication medium in both our personal and professional lives. It takes up several minutes of every single day. By learning to use it properly, you can make your life much more efficient.
There are different ways to improve your email habits. Part of it can be figuring out how to write better emails, and maybe cheat by using premade templates and responses. You should also adopt some best email practices. And the better you are at stopping spam, the less your inbox will be inundated with junk.
You don’t need to install any new apps or extensions to start doing this. It’s all about knowing where to look and then applying it in your life.
Canned Emails (Web): Prewritten Emails for Common Occasions
There are some situations that happen often on email. For example, you need to follow up on a favor. Or you simply need to ask someone for their advice.
Crafting the right email can open doors and make communication easier. If you aren’t sure what you should say, use canned emails to be productive. Remember, canned responses make email efficient. Here’s a sample of the type of emails you can get:
- Apply for position
- Following up
- Need advice
- Reschedule appointment
- Sick and staying home from work
You can either click any of those and open that template directly in your default email client, or you can copy it in plain text and paste it where you want.
Contactually Templates (Web): Email Templates for a Variety of Events
Another site for useful canned responses and email templates, Contactually takes it up a notch by streamlining the process. The emails are also slightly better written, including some humor to break the tension in these situations.
First, choose who you want to contact: customer, ex-lover, law, lead/prospect, past client, real estate, VIP/influencer. Depending on who you choose, select an appropriate reason in the “What is the email about?” section.
Contactually’s if-this-then-that way of choosing email templates will be easy for you to figure out what you want to say. You can use the Contactually interface itself to send the email, but it’s probably a better idea to copy-paste it into your own email client and edit it. You could even save some of these as canned responses in Gmail.
ThisEmail.XYZ (Web): Turn Any Email into a Web Page
Some emails deserve to be shared with others. But you might not want to divulge your own email address, and it’s impractical to ask friends on social networks to give you their addresses.
ThisEmail.XYZ is a simple way to turn any email into a web page. All you have to do is forward any email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will automatically turn your email’s contents into a shareable link. It’s another one of those nifty no-signup tools you should be using.
This link can then be shared anywhere, and anyone can view it. It’s a simple and effective way to protect your email privacy and security, while still sharing things that you want to share.
Scrim (Web): A Bot-proof Way to Share Your Address
If you share your link on social networks or anywhere online, bots will scan it and add it to their registry, and you’ll start getting more spam. Tricks like using disposable email providers are great, but you can’t use them when you have to share your email on social networks, Craigslist, or forums.
Scrim protects your email by turning it into a link that bots can’t scan. You also get to choose a memorable personalized URL; for example, go to scr.im/mihirMUO to get my official MakeUseOf email address. Anyone who visits that will first need to prove they are a human.
You can then safely share this link on Twitter without worrying about bots adding it to their registry, or the “@” symbol causing confusion on the social network.
Five Sentences (Web): How Successful Influencers Send Emails
Twitter restricts you to 140 characters, so you craft your response accordingly. When you’re chatting on instant messengers, you don’t write large paragraphs of convoluted replies. So why do that on email?
The reason email takes so much time these days is that we have a blank canvas and write more than we need to. Five Sentences is a personal philosophy where you restrict how long your emails will be.
“Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response,” the personal policy says. “Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead.”
If you’re worried about what people will think about your abrupt (and perhaps curt) responses, relax. The site suggests using a simple email signature that links to their page, explaining your new philosophy. It’s all you need to squeeze an extra hour out of each day.
Has the Email Problem Got Bigger?
With the advent of social networks and instant messengers, one would have thought that email usage would decline. Instead, on a personal front, I find my email usage has increased and I end up spending even more time than I used to.
Has email become a bigger problem than it used to be for you? What are you doing to cope with the increased messages?