As most solopreneurs and small businesses will attest, staying productive and efficient is key to making the most of the myriad demands on our time. One key area of running a business that can become a vacuum for productivity is email; here are 5 quick and easy to set up apps that make the most of your inbox, your time, and your sanity as a small business owner.
I am an avid fan of using Gmail. For me, the ability to link with my Google Plus contacts and Google Calendar is a productivity no brainer, but it’s the add-ons and integrations that really seal the deal. It’s nice and easy to plug in several domain-hosted emails all in one place, and they can all get dealt with in blocks of dedicated email communication time (which, I recommend, is only a few times a day).
Canned responses is an excellent in-built Gmail feature that enables you to send a standard response in an email and to save the response under a title. This is particularly useful if replying to candidates applying for a role, to clients buying a particular package, or indeed any situation where you might use similar text a number of times.
Simply set up your Canned Response, and select “insert” to reduce your time whenever a similar email needs to be sent.
The email game is a really fun way to get to grips with your inbox by “gamifying” the experience. The game works through your inbox and shows a timer as you respond to each email. Once you have whizzed through your responses, you can share your score and revel in the time saved.
The game is great for developing a habit of dealing with an overflowing inbox in bulk and with succinct, time efficient responses.
SaneBox is a brilliant Gmail third party application which helps to reduce the sheer volume of emails sitting in your inbox. The app adds really handy functionality such as storing attachments straight to Dropbox to help save your storage space, but the main function is to “train” your inbox and to select when to see an email again. Sanebox sweeps emails into “Sanelater” folder to keep your inbox looking far less overwhelming. You can also select to see an email again the next day, next week or month by putting into relevant folders such as “Sane Next Week” “Sane Tomorrow” and so on.
Betty acts just like your own inbox VA for scheduling meetings. Currently free to use, the application sits right within the Gmail email editor and links to Google Calendar; whenever an appointment needs to be scheduled with a recipient, Betty allows you to pick various times and length of meeting, which are then inserted as options into the body of the email itself. Hurrah! No more email ping pong to fix meetings!
Awayfind lets you step away from the inbox safe in the knowledge that if an important e-mail arrives, a text will appear on your smartphone. If you are away from the office, or simply just trying to re-find your productivity among the constant reach of connections, Away Find can be really handy tool. Set up a filter so when an email arrives with a certain keyword, or from a certain contact, an alert pings to your mobile so you can access the message immediately.
Now that email is no longer ruling your world, go and create an amazing business and enjoy a productive day – let us know how you get on.