How to save tons of time in your email inbox (and get your life back!)

how to save tons of time in your email inbox

Wanna save time in your email? Do you always feel pressure to be constantly checking your email? Does your inbox have a never-ending cycle of emails coming in? Do you find yourself feeling stressed out and frustrated when looking at it?

I know how you feel! For years I LIVED in my inbox, always having it open, getting pulled away from my real work every time a new message came in, and wading through thousands of emails, looking for what I needed.

When I decided to adopt a more Out of Office lifestyle, I had to conquer my inbox. Now my inbox is a very chill place, where I check emails only once or twice a day!

Stop stressing about the never-ending cycle of emails coming in by making these simple changes.

Heads up! This post is part of my mini-course, GTFO Your Inbox. You can join below to get even more tips to save time in your email!

GTFO Your Inbox!

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Automatically organize your inbox using email aliases and filters

If you use Gmail/Google Workspace, this is really easy! As a creative entrepreneur, you’ll want to use email aliases and filters to automatically sort your emails for you. This is the first step if you want to save time in your email!

The way it works is you’ll have different emails that are used for different things. But because they are aliases, they will all go to one email. You can then use filters to automatically tag your emails for you, so you can see at a glance what emails are from clients/customers, and what are less important.

Create your email aliases

Go to the Admin console > Users > Manage > Select the user you want to receive emails at > Add Alternate Emails > Fill in your aliases and save

screenshot showing the alias setup options

Aliases you may want to use (depending on your business):

  • hello@ – Likely your main email address, or a general unsorted email
  • support@ – For paying clients or customers
  • payments@ – For invoices, Paypal, Stripe, etc.
  • news@ – For your mailing list

Note: It is VERY important to have your mailing list emails come from a different email than your support or general emails. This is because your mailing list readers have likely stuck your newsletter emails in a promo tab–if they later need help with a product or service they bought from you, you don’t want your response ending up in their promo tab!

You may have other aliases you want to use (sales@, pr@, affiliates@), or you may want to name them something different (hi@, help@, money@, newsletter@, etc.), but these are the basic filters most creative entrepreneurs will need.

Once you have your aliases set up, create filters to automatically tag emails when they come through to these email aliases.

For example, when someone emails support@ create a filter that auto-tags the email as “Support” and add a color to the tag so it’s easily identifiable with just a glance.

Create and color your filters

In your email go to Settings > Filters and Blocked Addresses > Create a New Filter > To (enter alias email address) > Create Filter > Apply the Label > (Create appropriate label) > Create Filter

Once you’ve set that up, it’ll look something like this:

labeled emails in gmail

You’ll then need to set the label colors on the left-hand side.

how to set gmail label color

This will let you see what emails are in your inbox at a glance!

emails automatically labeled with support and payments

Optional: Some entrepreneurs I know like to have the email skip the inbox, and go straight to the tag/folder. Then they check each folder individually and go through their emails that way. That keeps everything organized, and they are only checking one type of email at once.

I personally do not like to do this, because I find I lose track of my emails this way. I prefer to have everything come to my inbox, and then I archive emails once I respond to them and they go into their appropriate tag/folder. This way I know that if it’s in my inbox I need to respond to it, but if it’s in the tag/folder it has already had action taken on it.

Update your email addresses and tell everyone

Next, start using these email aliases! Tell your clients/customers what email to use, update your payment processors, contact forms, client/customer communication options, etc. so your emails will start sorting themselves.

Woohoo! Now you can pop in your inbox and easily see what emails are most important, and quickly move through them.

Use canned responses (templates)

Tired of saying the same thing over and over and over in your email? If you find you’re repeating yourself often, you can create canned responses in Gmail to make responses fast and easy!

Enable templates in your account

Templates are not enabled by default, so you’ll need to turn them on.

Head to Settings > Advanced > Templates > Enable to enable templates on your account.

Select "enable" under the templates setting

Create your first template

Now, you can write an email and save it as a template to be used over and over again. From your email draft click the three dots, then go to Templates > Save Draft as Template > Save as New Template.

Gmail canned response template

You may want to create templates for:

  • New client inquiries
  • Support questions you get a lot
  • Calendar scheduling links
  • Responses to cold emails

Canned responses save SO much time, and if you end up ever hiring anyone else to manage your inbox, having canned responses will make the handover much easier!

Create an autoresponder

Not an annoying one that just says, “Thanks for your email, I’ll get back to you later.” Those are worthless.

Create an autoresponder that has actual information! Head to Settings > Vacation Responder > Vacation Responder On

Your autoresponder should include:

  • Your office hours and/or
  • Approximate timeframe to expect a response in
  • Answers to frequently asked questions

Here’s an example:


Subject: There’s actual info in this autoresponder!

PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL!

Sorry for yelling, but this isn’t your average auto-responder and there’s actual information in it.

We’re a tiny team and don’t live in our inboxes, so please allow 48 hours (not including weekends or holidays) to get back to you.

FAQs…

Here are some answers to questions we get a lot:

I’m having trouble logging in! – If you’re having trouble logging in, please start with a password reset by clicking here. If you are still having trouble after that, please let us know and we’ll help you trouble-shoot.

Question 2 – Answer the question

Question 3 – Answer the question

Miscellaneous requests…

Thank you, but we are NOT interested in:

  • Adding links to our existing articles
  • Hopping on a “quick” call with you if we don’t know you
  • Whatever free “audit” you’ve conducted of our website or SEO

If you are requesting one of the above, please consider this email the response and understand that we are not interested.

Everything else…

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

Thanks,

Your Name


Using an autoresponder like this will let emailers know when to expect a response from you, as well as the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions, which will help you save time in your email inbox!

Take action!

It’s time to GTFO your inbox. Start by using a totally separate email account for newsletters and logins.

Next, use email aliases and filters to auto-sort your inbox.

Use canned responses to save time on repeat emails.

And of course, use an informative autoresponder to let emailers know when they can expect to hear from you, as well as the answers to common questions.

Want more? Take my mini-course!

Learn exactly how to save hours in your inbox each week.

GTFO Your Inbox!