6 Simple Tricks to Reduce Email Stress

Akshata Shanbhag 01-12-2015

Dealing with email is the best part of my day. Said no one ever.


Email is stressful even if you aren’t in pursuit of inbox zero. You need all the tips you can get to stay on top of it, unless of course, you plan to do away with email altogether 4 Influential People Who Don't Use Email (And Why) It's difficult to imagine a life without email, but some people are choosing to stop using it altogether. That includes US Senators and famous filmmakers. Read More . Today we bring you six tips to help you reduce email-related stress.

1. Schedule Emails in Bulk

This tip has a different reason than what you may think. Apps like Boomerang and SndLatr allow you to schedule emails for later. Here’s the obvious benefit of that. You can draft a bunch of emails beforehand at a time of your convenience, and have them sent automatically at a time of your choosing.


The hidden benefit here is that by using a scheduler, you get control over the time stamp that the email recipient sees. Let’s see how that can be useful, but first, ask yourself this:

  • Do people look at the time stamps in your emails and assume that you’re online?
  • Based on that, do they assume that you’re available for calls/chats (when you aren’t)?
  • Do people comment on or question your work habits because the time stamp indicates a midnight hour?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you’re probably plagued by email and IM interruptions at inconvenient times. You might even feel forced to go into unnecessary discussions about your workflow.


Here’s a smart way to tackle this problem. Schedule emails for the times you usually devote to low-attention tasks like PC maintenance. That way your actual work hours Time Blocking -- The Secret Weapon For Better Focus Are you looking for a more efficient way to organise your work-days? Try Time Blocking. This time management tactic can help keep you on track while keeping distractions, procrastination, and unproductive multitasking at bay. Read More stay a secret and you can steer people into learning when you’re available for a chat.

2. Leave the Email Address Field Blank

We’ve all been there — accidentally hitting Send on an unfinished email or sending out an email rant and regretting it later.

Not all email apps have an Undo Send feature What's New in Good Old Gmail? 5 Features You Should Check Out You might have missed out on a few new features Gmail has gradually added in the past year. So let's look at what deserves our attention. Read More like Gmail does, and even that feature comes with an upper limit of 30 seconds. Besides, you can’t get your email recipients to “un-read” emails just because you made a mistake sending them out.


Here’s a simple trick to avoid such email messes and the nail biting that follows. Don’t add the email address when you start writing an email. Save that for last. It’ll serve as a reminder to double-check everything that you have written. Even if you happen to hit Send, you won’t have to worry about it because that email is going nowhere until you type in the recipient’s address.

3. Block or Filter Unwanted Emails

It doesn’t take much to delete the odd annoying or useless email. But when you receive a steady stream of such emails day after day, they take up a big chunk of your time and attention.

Let’s just say that if it’s in your inbox, it’s on your mind. And you don’t want your mind space taken up by stuff you don’t want or need, least of all emails.



Have a system in place to filter unwanted emails How to Set Up Email Filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook Email filtering is your best tool in keeping your inbox neat and organized. Here's how to set up and use email filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook. Read More and block email addresses that send such mails. You’ll have to look up how to do this based on the email service or desktop email client How to Set Up Message Filters In Thunderbird Read More you use.

In Gmail, you’ll find the filter and block sender features hidden in the More dropdown in an email message:


Incoming emails from blocked addresses go straightaway into the spam folder. You can also create Gmail filters (and unblock senders) via Settings > Filters and Blocked Addresses. While you’re at it, see what you else can do to stop emails from cluttering your inbox 3 Easy Ways To Stop Email Overload From Hitting Your Inbox Email has quite a reputation as a productivity killer. Managing email well can help you keep your inbox clean, but wouldn’t it be great if you got less of it to begin with? Read More in the first place.


4. Pin Emails to the Start Screen in Windows

I find myself referring to a couple of emails related to writing guidelines every now and then. If you also have a few favorite emails that you need to access often, you could keep them starred. But a better way to make them available for quick access is by pinning them to the Start screen A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu Windows 10 fixes the Start Menu dilemma! Getting to grips with the new Start Menu will supercharge your Windows 10 experience. With this handy guide, you'll be an expert in no time. Read More if you’re on Windows 10.

Open the Mail app and right-click on any email that you’d like to add to the Start screen. In the context menu, click on Pin to start. You can even pin an individual email account to the Start screen:


To pin emails to the Start Menu in Windows 7 or 8, first to save it to your computer. Now navigate to the saved location and drag and drop the email onto the Start Menu button. Done? Open the Start Menu and you’ll find that email there as a pinned item.

You can also pin an email to the context menu of the Outlook icon in the Taskbar by dragging the saved email to the Taskbar icon.

5. Master Email Search

If you have a well organized inbox, you’re likely to find the right mails quicker than most people. But what really saves you a lot of time and headache is getting smart at searching for emails How To Search Emails In Gmail Efficiently Read More . Take advantage of email features like labels and search operators to narrow down your searches.

Gmail has some advanced search options that you can bring up by clicking on the tiny arrow that appears adjacent to the search button:

advanced search settings

Here’s an example to show you the benefit of using search operators to find the right messages. Let’s say that you’re looking for a bunch of PNG photos sent as email attachments in Gmail by a friend named Greg.

You can search for greg to bring up emails sent by him and then scan the results to find the email you want. But a quicker and more effective way to find those photos would be to use a query like greg has:attachment filename:.png.

6. Pick up the Phone

Sometimes, a quick call can save you a lot of email back and forth. The key is to identify which topics are better handled over a phone call than over email. You’ll have stay firm about keeping the conversation on point, though. Otherwise, the five-minute chat you had in mind could turn into a gabfest.

Have a super short list of points you want to discuss ready before you make the call. If it appears that you have more to discuss than you can fit into a short call, save it for an email or a scheduled meeting.

Say Goodbye to Inbox Zero, If…

I have reached inbox zero and I’m happy that I did because it has improved my workflow. But, it’s not a target that you should feel obliged to reach, no matter who is recommending it as such.

If an empty inbox is not something that’ll work for you, feel free stop or skip its pursuit. You might feel as if a great weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

Even if you decide to give up the frenzied daily decluttering, do make some effort to organize your emails. Otherwise, you’ll just be adding more stress to your day by letting your inbox become unmanageable.

We began to strive for an empty inbox and the most efficient possible strategies for quickly processing this deluge. The twenty-minute response time became an aspirational standard.

But I want to propose an alternative: Not everyone needs to be easily reached by e-mail.

Some people, such as those who deal with clients all day or manage large teams that crave frequent guidance, should be pros at this skill. But other people, like computer programmers, writers, advertising gurus and professors, should be free to suck at e-mail just as much as they might suck at other skills that aren’t that relevant to their core value proposition.

~ Cal Newport, It’s Okay to Be Bad at E-mail

It’s Time for Some New Email Habits

Popular email tips that tell you to unsubscribe from promotional mails, use canned responses 4 Ways to Creatively Use Canned Responses for Email Productivity If you're effective, you're doing something right. That's why you should use email filters and schedule mail time. One trick is to prepare canned responses for emails you frequently write. Read More , and take breaks from email are both practical and useful. But it’s the tiny changes like the ones listed above that bring you email zen.

Which simple trick has reduced email stress for you by changing how you deal with your inbox? Tell us about it in the comments!

Related topics: Email Tips, Productivity.

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  1. Squalle
    December 4, 2015 at 5:33 am

    #2 I've been doing that for years. I just don't trust myself. lol

  2. Sean
    December 1, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Search for "unsubscribe" then start clicking on those link unsubscribe links.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      December 2, 2015 at 2:52 am

      Absolutely! Better yet, get to do all the work for you.