Let’s talk about email, you know that according to the McKinsey Global Institute, the average person spends around 28% of the time reading and answering email? That is like 11 hours for a tipical 40 hours working week.
I don’t know about you, but for me that is a lot. Considering the fact that email = communication and not actual work I believe that our focus should be on decreasing the time we spend in our inboxes. Why? because the actual work happens outsite the inbox.
Where should I start
I think that there are a lot of strategies that we can use to become better email ninjas. My goal in this article is not to cover them all but rather to focus on one of them: Gmail canned responses.
We all have favorites right, when talking about email I can say that I am a very big fan of Gmail in terms of usability and efficiency. However, I think that you can apply the principles to other email clients as well.
What are canned responses?
Imagine that you are a sales person, your desk activity might revolve between sending offers to clients, doing follow up and so on. Even though every customer is unique you know that working through the sales cycle you use your email for kinda similar things.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could create a template for the offers you are sending everyday, or for those follow up emails?
Yes, it would be, this is where Gmail canned responses become interesting because they help you create these templates once, to use multiple times.
Enable canned responses
Canned responses is a labs feature in Gmail, that means that you first have to enable it in order to use it. See how in the image bellow.
Create a canned response
Hey, what if I want to change my canned response?
No problem, Google thought about that also. After oppening a canned response and making changes you can save it using the save function you see bellow.
Setting up an autoresponder
Let’s pretent that you are an extremly busy person that receives a gazilion emails / day, maybe you are a blogger that just released a brand new writing contest for your readers. Because you expect to receive a lot of articles via email you tell your readers to make sure that they put a certain subject to their email with the article.
In this way you can create a filter based on that subject and a canned response that says thanks, I received you article, expect a response from my side until the 4th of July. See bellow how you can do just that.
Ok Radu, I understand the idea, do you really think this can make me faster? My answer is a clear yes if you are using email a lot and if you are able to identify email types like I listed above (offers, follow up emails and so on). My answer is no if you send an average of 5 emails / week, in this case don’t bother.