How to Automate Your Inbox

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You probably look at your email inbox several times a day — possibly numerous times per hour. Your inbox keeps your received emails in one place, but it can do much more. Keep reading to learn cool tricks to automate how your inbox works.

Synch Your Inbox to Work With Zapier

Zapier is a web automation app that creates blueprints for repetitive tasks in your life. And yes, it can help you eliminate repetitive duties associated with your inbox. Automatically archive content to Evernote, transfer file attachments to Dropbox and send emailed tasks to Basecamp. Zapier can also deliver reminder messages about meetings or other recurring events.

If you use several web apps to make life easier, there’s a good chance Zapier plays nicely with them.

Control of Your Gmail Inbox Using Boomerang

Boomerang is a Gmail-specific app that schedules emails to send later. It works especially well if you’re traveling and need a recipient to receive an email when you’re not around to send it. For example, if you need to send an invoice on the fifth of the month to ensure prompt payment, but you’re on a camping trip that day, Boomerang can handle the task when you’re off the grid.

Boomerang is also helpful if you take an “I’ll deal with that later” approach to email, but don’t want your procrastination to cause you to forget about what you need to handle. When prompted, Boomerang removes items from your inbox and archives them until a time you specify. It then takes archived material and puts it back into view. It can star messages or place them at the top of the inbox so they’re more obvious.

There may also be times when you need to hear back from an email recipient within a certain timeframe. Boomerang can remind you if that person hasn’t responded, letting you know it’s necessary to touch base with them again.

automate your inbox

Enable Canned Responses

Sometimes you need to send several emails containing the same content. An example is a hiring manager trying to fill an open position. He or she likely sorts through many applications. The Canned Responses feature that’s available through Google Labs makes short work of composing emails with identical content.

You might write an email that says, “Thank you for your interest in the Call Center Manager position. Your application has been received, and we are currently reviewing materials from candidates.” Once you’ve created the Google templates, it’s easy to send them in seconds, leaving you more time to focus on other tasks — besides repeatedly composing the same email.

Categorize Content With Personalized Filters

Google makes it possible to set rules, so you may not see certain emails. Conversely, you may highlight them so they’re not overlooked. Thanks to personalized filters that act in accordance with specified rules, the technology can star or delete incoming emails that match the parameters.

You might also use labels in your inbox to find topical content faster. If that’s the case, filters can move particular messages to labeled sections. If you’re in the process of transferring to a new email address and don’t want to miss messages from people who didn’t get the memo about the change, rely on filters to automatically forward emails to your new account.

Survey Your Subscription-Related Emails With Unroll.Me

You can sign up for email lists in seconds, but probably spend a lot longer sifting through all the subscription-based content you receive and determining which messages to read. The Unroll.Me app lets you take definitive steps toward streamlining your inbox by collecting newsletters, digests and other subscription-related content you’ve opted into.

After signing up, you’ll receive a daily digest called The Rollup. The subject line contains details about the senders associated with each Rollup.

Then, it’s simple to read all the content in a single place, rather than wasting time clicking through several separate emails. If you check out your Rollup and notice the only emails you received on a given day were from your hairdresser and favorite bookshop, but your cut still looks cute and you’ve got plenty to read, you may decide it’s not necessary to dedicate any attention to that day’s subscriptions.

The Unroll.Me app also displays a list of all of your subscriptions. If you want to keep getting emails from Groupon but don’t want to hear from Spotify, use the app to unsubscribe with one click.

Email management shouldn’t dominate your day. There are plenty of actionable ways to make your email work harder. Email management is a goal within reach! Put these tips into practice soon and start stressing less over your inbox.

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Kayla Matthews is the editor of Productivity Bytes and a regular contributor to VentureBeat, Motherboard, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.