Reach Inbox Zero with Two Simple Gmail Hacks
I’ve got your back with features to help you snooze, batch and slow the pace
Gmail has so many features it’s hard to keep track of it all. There are two features I use daily that help me hit inbox zero multiple times a week.
The first is the snooze feature.
Snooze and get the Right Email at the Right Time
Snoozing hides the email in a secret folder only to reappear in your inbox at the day and time of your choosing.
For example, I feature GoGoDone Community Members in the newsletter each week. I have them email me a blurb and headshot. Whenever that comes in, I snooze it until the afternoon of the day I build the newsletter.
If I have agreed to do a podcast interview and the interviewer has sent me questions, I put the event in my calendar and snooze the email with the questions until the morning of the recording.
If someone sends me an article to read or a podcast to listen to, that generally gets snoozed to Friday.
So, how do you do it?
When you open the email, you’ll see a variety of options along the top. Snooze is the little clock.
Once you click that clock, you’ll see the following:
Select one of their predetermined responses or select the last option “Pick date & time” to select your own. That will bring up a calendar for you.
You can also do it directly from your inbox by selecting one or more messages. The snooze option will then appear. You can snooze multiple messages at the same time. (Note: snoozing your entire inbox does not count as inbox zero my friends!)
How to Use Schedule Send to Batch Your Work and Slow the Pace
Batching your work, or scheduling similar tasks at the same time, is a tried and true time management hack.
Gmail has a feature called Schedule Send. Instead of sending an email right away, you can tell Gmail when to send it.
So, as soon as you schedule a meeting, you can draft the reminder and program it to go out the day before or the morning of the meeting.
I run two-week sprints each month for entrepreneurs and side hustlers. There are opportunities to be in the hot seat of a mastermind and/or co-host the sessions with me for more Zoom practice. All of these require reminder emails. I do them right after I start the sprint each day when everything I need is already open and at my fingertips.
I used to send them right away...but then they started answering me! I can tell folks to close their email and focus on their project but I can’t make them. So, I schedule them to go out right after our work sessions.
In addition to batching, Schedule Send can help with a technique I call Slowing the Pace.
Slowing the Pace is about extending your email response time (responsibly), which in turn delays the response of the person on the other end, thereby decreasing the number of emails hitting your inbox during your workday.
I almost always respond to emails within 24 hours, even if it’s to say, “I hear you, I’m getting there!” Since batching is an effective process, I like to do this with my emails once or twice a day.
Sometimes you know that the second you respond to someone, there will be a return email in your inbox. This is where you can Slow the Pace. Honor them by responding, but do so at the latest time that is respectful. If someone emails you after 3 pm, you can schedule that email to go out tomorrow morning or maybe even afternoon.
This will slow the pace of the incoming emails in any single workday. We have this knee-jerk reaction to respond to emails the second they come in - hello distraction, goodbye productivity. But most folks know you might have a few hours of meetings or a training day (or heaven forbid you protect time on your schedule to WORK!). Check yourself and be sure you haven’t set this expectation and taught the people around you to expect it as well.
Side note: I use Slow the Pace for setting meetings as well. I rarely schedule meetings for the first slot available. I like to start with the first slot available next week.
Okay, back to Schedule Send on Gmail. Here’s how it works. Type up your email and look for the “Send” button with the arrow to the right. (I have that blue Send + Archive button turned on - you may or may not have this.)
Click on the little up-arrow and “Schedule send’ will appear.
It will open this dialogue box. You can select one of their recommended times or pick your own. If you pick your own, it will open up a calendar just like in the snooze function.
These small hacks can make a huge impact on your inbox--and your workday! Take control of your schedule by being proactive rather than reactive. Try them and I bet you’ll see that inbox zero more often than you ever have!