An email hack that will save you more than time
Here’s a little hack I realised one late Friday evening while I was working away on clearing out my Inbox. For the amount of time we all spend in our Inboxes it’s amazing how few of us really take a tour through all of the features our email management tools actually have – and the potential they give us to automate and be more productive.
It was while working late one evening that I realised I had a list of emails to send or reply to – yet I didn’t want my contacts to receive them on their Friday evenings and to disturb the start of their weekends. I’m a huge believer in people working at the times (even places) that suits their lifestyle – yet not at the cost of disturbing others. It’s the unfortunate reaction to receiving an email – people feel bound to reply almost immediately.
Additionally, however – it gives people the impression that you are open to communicating at all times of the day and night. I hold the protection of my personal / work balance extremely high and so this has never been a precedent I wanted to set, even if I do occasionally work odd hours myself.
So here it is – I realised I could schedule my emails to send on Monday morning. That I wouldn’t have to save them as drafts – only to have to remember to send them later. I could actually pick the exact date and time that would be most appropriate for the receiver to have this email land in their Inbox.
In addition to the points I raised above about work-life balance and intruding on others weekends / personal lives I have over time realised that this hack can help automate my business in more ways than this. Here’s a few examples when I’ve used this to save myself time:
- Upon receiving an invitation to an event I often schedule the thank you message I’d like to send the day after the event. It saves me from needing to remember to do this as I set it up as soon as it occurs to me – without even needing to add it to my task list.
- After setting a meeting with a client at my office – if I would normally check what coffee or lunch choice they would want before the meeting I’ll schedule the email asking their preference to send the evening before the meeting as soon as we set the time for the meeting. Again – nothing added to my task list.
- If a client has an impending launch or release date I often schedule an email to send to them to enquire how it went – so that in case on the day in question I get too busy (as sometimes happens) I don’t forget to check on the day.
- Birthdays, anniversaries – these are easy ones and so helpful!
- If I’m holding a workshop with a client and have prepared the steps they need to prepare or follow up after the workshop – I’ll schedule this well in advance while I’m planning the workshop. Sometimes I’m preparing work for a meeting or project in advance of when the client will actually see it – sending it to them early will only lead them to forget what needs to be done OR worse yet only clog up their Inbox. So it’s extremely useful to have these go when they actually need it.
Keen to try this yourself?
If you use Office 365 – here’s the step by step guide on how to schedule your emails.
Using Gmail? Boomerang is an extension for Gmail that allows you to schedule your emails – it’s free up to 10 emails a month.
Want something completely free for Gmail? This extension is a bit tricky but 100% free to use.
If you use another email client be sure to check their support pages on how you can schedule your emails too.