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SaneBox Tips & Tricks to A Happier Inbox

They say that you spend 1/3 of your life sleeping. There’s no need to spend 1/3 of your day managing your emails. Below we have listed SaneBox’s 57 tips to a happier and more behaved Inbox.

  1.  Join the Inbox Zero Academy to regain control of your inbox in just 10 minutes a day for 10 days. Don’t miss the email secrets that thousands of busy professionals have already learned
  2. Writing an email with action items? List them first, followed by the details. Most people reverse this process. 
  3. It sounds harsh, but sometimes people deserve to go to the SaneBlackHole. E.g. “I found you online and wonder if you’re the right person at your company to discuss our product.” These emails are from individuals, so there’s usually no unsubscribe link. Put the message in SaneBlackHole and all future emails from that person will go straight to Trash.
  4. Fact: Only 2% of us are capable of multi-tasking effectively. The rest of us can handle only one cognitive function at a time. Even if an interruption lasts only 1/10 of a second (seeing a new email, for example) we often don’t return to our original task right away.
  5. You don’t have to respond to every email you receive. In fact, you shouldn’t.
  6. Email is not broken-we just use it wrong. We fail to distinguish between the three types of emails and end up with an ever-increasing pile of badly sorted emails in our inboxes, leaving our lives and minds similarly cluttered.
  7. It’s time to adopt email triage, an approach that will help you process thousands of messages in a fraction of the time.
  8. Do you freeze up or experience a strong feeling of avoidance just at the thought of cleaning out your home or inbox? If so, you’re not alone-and there is a very good explanation.
  9. Whether talking about physical objects, digital information, or anything in between, decluttering is the act of repeatedly deciding how to process possessions.
  10. Email has been a leading form of communication for years, and yet many of us still don’t use it properly. If you want to up your email game and simplify your work life
  11. Does replying to an email right away come across as desperate?
  12. Ever wonder how the SaneBox team uses SaneReminders?
  13. If you’ve never deferred (or “snoozed”) an email, trust us when we say that your workflow is missing a crucial element.
  14. To truly make an impact in your career, you’ve got to reclaim your to-do list.
  15. The pressure to be constantly connected to email can lead to elevated stress levels, disrupted work-life balance, and loss of productivity.
  16. Unlike personal email and instant messaging, you represent your entire organization when you respond to work emails.
  17. Work smarter, not harder.
  18. Save time by bulk processing your unimportant email. Do this right within your daily SaneBox digest, and also by selecting all or multiple messages at once in your email client.
  19. Double check to make sure you were CC’d, not BCC’d, before replying to everyone on a thread. If you were BCC’d, then only you and the sender know that you were included on the email; by hitting ‘Reply All,’ the secret is out!
  20. SaneBox power tip: Create custom training folders from the Sane Folders section of your dashboard. Name the folders whatever you’d like, and once they appear, move existing and future emails into them to train SaneBox what belongs in each.
  21. Want to ensure that emails from employees at a particular company always arrive in your Inbox? Or in Trash? Then domain filtering is for you.
  22. What would happen if you lost access to your primary email account? Don’t risk losing everything-automatically forward your mail to another account.
  23. Email is by far the largest social network there is, but it’s rarely used for finding connections. See how SaneConnect can help you leverage this untapped resource.
  24. Escape from emails like “I am on vacation and will return on X” by enabling the auto-reply feature in the advanced filtering section of your SaneBox dashboard. This option impacts only auto-reply emails and not the contact themselves, so if they send you a real email, you will receive it in your usual folder.
  25. Are too many important emails being filtered out of your inbox (or vice versa)? Adjust your intelligence settings.
  26. Forget copy & paste. If you type the same emails and phrases often, use TextExpander, Gmail’s Canned Responses, or another templated approach to quickly save and insert text.
  27. If your Gmail got hacked, it would be a nightmare. Here are 5 ways to protect it.
  28. Don’t use images in your signature. They often show up as attachments and only serve to distract from or confuse the message.
  29. Do you freeze up or experience a strong feeling of avoidance just at the thought of decluttering your home or inbox? If so, you’re not alone and there is a very good explanation.
  30. Your inbox is not an archive. You don’t leave old snail mail in your mailbox, do you? Trash it, file it, or put it in a to-do folder for later.
  31. Don’t spend more time responding to an email than it took the sender to write. Set a target length of 5 sentences or less for replies. If you can’t hit that, it’s time to jump on a call (or work on your brevity).
  32. Don’t end a long email with “Thoughts?” or any other open-ended question. Instead, be specific. Say “Do you think we should do X, Y or Z?”
  33. Turn off notifications everywhere you receive email. The frequent distractions destroy your focus. ‘
  34. It’s okay to not reply to every email, especially ones that are just FYIs or that you’re only CC’d on. In fact, others will appreciate not getting a bunch of “Thanks” and “Got it” emails.
  35. Billy Jean is not my lover, she’s just a girl who claims that I am the one.” Incredible song lyrics or easy-to-remember yet nearly unhackable password? The answer: both BJinmlsjagwctIat1. See what we did there?
  36. Don’t send passwords via email, even to people you know and trust. The same goes for credit card and other sensitive information.
  37. Requiring people to print, sign, and return attachments is not only dated, it’s evil. Take advantage of services like HelloFax and online PDF editors instead. Your recipients and the environment will thank you.
  38. "”I discovered that having an empty inbox is literally an access to mindfulness and flow,” Bill Liao”
  39. When the London-based company International Power aimed to cut the number of emails its executives sent by 20%, the end result was an overall 64% decrease in email use throughout the organization.
  40. "”Emailing all weekend is no way to spend the little time you have on this planet,” Tim Ferriss”
  41. A reminder about Reminders! Want to make sure a recipient gets back to you by tomorrow at 9am? Just CC or BCC tomorrow.9am@sanebox.com. If you don’t get a reply by that time, SaneBox will send you a reminder to follow up. You can put pretty much any timeframe (3days@, dec.31@, monday@ etc).
  42. Did you know that just 6-7% of outgoing emails are responded to within 24 hours? Check your SaneNoReplies folder periodically to follow up as needed, and set a SaneReminder for any important outgoing email.
  43. Quick tip: When sending email, always note whether a response is needed. If it is, say when.’
  44. Did you know SaneBox has a Salesforce integration? If you use Salesforce, you should enable it right away.
  45. Are you CC’d a lot? Take advantage of SaneCC, a folder where all emails that you’re CC’d on will be filtered to. You can find it on featuresyour Sane Folders dashboard.
  46. Don’t want SaneLater to be called SaneLater anymore? Go to wherever your check your email and change it to whatever you want: Later, Unimportant, 123 Dancing Sharkwhatever you like! Note: We do recommend leaving @ in front so it stays at the top of your folders list.’
  47. Ever find something in your Spam folder that doesn’t belong there? SaneBox can put miscategorized email in a SaneNotSpam folder for you to review. 
  48. Want to get a SaneReminder even if you receive a reply from the recipient? No problem. Just add “keep” to the address (keep.tomorrow.9am@sanebox.com) and SaneBox will put the email thread back in your inbox no matter what.
  49. What’s even less productive than holding a ton of unnecessary meetings? Emailing back and forth 5 times to schedule each one of them. Use a tool like Calendly or ScheduleOnce instead.
  50. Do you ever send emails before they’re finished? Add the recipient’s email address after you’re done composing the message and the subject line.
  51. Email on the longer side? Put key words or sentences in bold. Don’t do all caps (THAT’S YELLING!) and don’t bold too much - it will lose its impact.
  52. Your time away is precious. Don’t be disturbed during a break from the office - Enable SaneVacation and move emails there to snooze them until your return. Happy emailing and happy travels
  53. Schedule dedicated blocks of time for email during the workday - e.g. an hour in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon. Outside of these scheduled blocks, keep your inbox closed so you can focus on what really matters. And be sure to schedule your digest for the time you want to process unimportant email!
  54. Write insanely useful subject lines for your business emails with 10 abbreviations and phrases.
  55. Adhere to the 2-minute rule: If you can respond to or delegate an email in 2 minutes or less, just do it. Don’t waste additional time and brainpower thinking about it.’
  56. Think twice before clicking the unsubscribe link, especially in suspicious emails. Doing so lets the sender know you’re a real person who checks email, and spammers will take full advantage of this. Even better: Enable SaneBlackHole. 
  57. If something is urgent, don’t use email. The best practice is: email if you need a response within 24 hours, text or instant message if you need something that day, and call or go in person if you need something that moment.’