The short answer is obviously “it depends.” Email takes up most of our workdays, and has become a functional todo list for many a worker. Coping-skills and time management strategies can be acquired, and most people have their own method of staying on top of the daily onslaught of messages and email chains.
One recent study conducted by U.C Irving and the US Army showed that people who had their email open for long periods of time are more likely to exhibit physical symptoms of the unhealthy form of stress. It would be super cute if we could all just close our emails and meditate through our work days, but, for the unlucky masses that decided against becoming yoga instructors, we are stuck with a pretty persistent question:
Is it possible to manage your inbox and your stress level simultaneously?
Save your namastes guys, because there are some viable options out there that can help tame your inbox and that gnawing wave of anxiety. You are probably well aware that the market is not in short supply of project management tools, but, when you are out there comparing features, it’s important that you know what to look for.
The following is a (in no way exhaustive) list of things to think about when platform shopping.
- Make sure whatever you get integrates with your existing email set-up.
- Look for tracking components (i.e. see when people have read your email or clicked a link you have included)
- Merges with calendar and scheduling systems (email reminders should be easily transferred to your calendar)
- Templates that engage the people you are getting in touch with
- Built-in features that make follow-up easy
Gmail and other email providers are trying to keep up with their competition and have smartened up the way they organize incoming mail. The deficiencies are pretty apparent (but, hey, thanks for giving us a tab to put all of those Groupon messages in). The main hurdle providers face is that they are trying to design a one-size-fits-all system. The idea is great, but it’s almost impossible to execute at this stage of the game.
Look for an email management platform that is designed around what you and your business do. A solid example of this is toutapp, which is designed for sales and communication teams, but has a pretty broad appeal. It meets all of the aforementioned criterion, but also shows off a bit with its features that allow users to communicate more effectively with people on their team – and can also generate performance reports. Analytics are not just for managers anymore. Clients and superiors are notorious suckers for stats. What says “I deserve a bonus” like a pie-chart?
If you are looking to jump into the shallow-end of the email management pool then you can always check out Mailboxapp. Depending on the size and scaling pace of company, it could be a good fit. The take away here is that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed by your inbox, but the right mindset and application can help you strike the balance between productivity and tranquility.