5 Email Productivty Tools to Save You an Hour a Day

5 Email Productivity Tools Guaranteed to Save You 1 Hour A day

email productivityIs your email damaging your business?

Imagine finishing up every evening without any email in your inbox.  How refreshing is it to finish a day with an empty inbox?

If you add up all the time you spend on email and then add social media on top of this, I am sure it’s taking up a good portion  of your day.

Managing your email more efficiently will give you the time you so desperately need on social media and other activities.


What Do You Do With All Your Emails?

At Content Marketing World recently, I listened to my friend Chris Ducker talk about email.  He said he’ll never spend more than 45 minutes a day on email and when he gets an email there’s one of 3 actions he performs:

  1. Responds or creates a task
  2. Deletes
  3. Archives

With a process like this in place you no longer have an overwhelming Inbox and if you restrict the time you spend on email you have more time to do other tasks.

Email is a major problem in business because we spend too much time on it, but it’s also a hugely important channel in the world of social media so we need to look at ways of solving this problem.

Here are 5 Email productivity tools to get you started.

1.  Sanebox

This is one of my personal favorites.  It basically manages your email by applying some automation processes to your inbox. It currently works with Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, IBM Notes and Office 365.

When emails come to your inbox Sanebox decides if they are important or not.  If they are important they stay in your inbox and if they’re not they are put into a ‘SaneLater’ folder.

So how does it determine what’s important?  Well, it uses your past interactions with your email as an indicator. For example, if you always open emails from a certain person within a short period of time after receiving it, Sanebox determines that this person must be important so all future emails from them will remain in your Inbox.

If you are viewing your SaneLater folder and come across messages from people that you want to start appearing in your inbox you simply drag that message to your inbox and then it will appear in your inbox from there on in.

This tool will save you a lot of time because you’ll have a lot less email in your inbox.  You don’t ignore SaneLater completely but you’ll find that you’ll only check it once or twice a day, and when you’re checking your inbox there’s a lot less to process.

As you can see there are also other SaneInbox folders:

san folders
SaneInbox Folders


  • @SaneArchive – These are emails that are older than 3 months, and so are automatically archived
  • @SaneBlackHole – If you get email that is junk drag it to this folder and then any future emails from this account will automatically go to Junk
  • @SaneLater – As discussed, these are non important emails which you can review on a regular basis
  • @SaneTomorrow – If you are not ready to respond to an email you can drag it to SaneTomorrow and it will appear back in your inbox the next day.

Other functionality available with SaneInbox

  • Get notified when people ignore your email – When you send an email you can get SaneInbox to send you a reminder if someone hasn’t responded to your email.
  • Move attachments to the cloud – It can take all the attachments in your emails and automatically store them in Dropbox.  Your emails will then contain a link to the attachment on Dropbox.
  • Snooze important emails –  I already explained about the SaneTomorrow’ folder where you can temporarily remove emails from your inbox and they then re-appear the following day. Well you can also snooze them for a week if you want.
  • Summary of unimportant emails – You can get an email summarizing the emails that SaneInbox thought were unimportant and then you can action them in bulk within Sane.

If you get a lot of email SaneInbox will save you at least an hour a day.

2. Text Expander

Do you find you are constantly typing the same information over and over again within your emails?

I know the answer – yes, a lot!

Text expander allows you to assign a short-cut key that is used to copy in text you have already created. It can be used in email but can also be used in other areas e.g. Word Document,

Install Text Expander and create a series of templates (or snippets of text) that you want to use within your emails, then when you are typing you can call on these templates.

In the following example we have highlighted a template we use when we get requests for guest posting opportunities on our site.  As we currently don’t allow guest posts we send back the same message all the time.

Instead of writing this message over and over again, we simply type the short cut ‘;gp’ in our email and it will automatically add in the text.


The short cut key will be replaced by the text


Text Expander is a Mac based application but you’ll also find PC based alternatives.


3.  Boomerang

There is some overlapping functionality with Boomerang and SaneInbox but the feature I still use within Boomerang is scheduling of emails.

When I’m sending an email I either send it immediately or “Boomerang it” so it’s sent at a later stage. For example, it might be 11pm at night when you’re sending an email to a Journalist but you’ll probably get a better response if they receive it at 9am the following morning. Simply click the Boomerang button and send it whenever you want.


Send your email later!


Boomerang is a Gmail app.


4. Complete

Complete automatically completes words within your email.  As you start typing words it guesses what you are going to write and auto completes.  It takes a while to get used to it but once you do it will definitely save you time typing.

Here is an example of the auto complete.

Auto complete in action
Auto complete in action


This is a Chrome plugin and you can use it within any app.


5. Email Marketing / Marketing Automation Tools

You can be generating emails in your sleep, so why not take advantage and invest in a good marketing automation (e.g. Ontraport) or email marketing tool (e.g. Aweber) and automate some of your emails you send.

Here’s an example.   Someone signs up to your email list.  You send them a series of emails promoting good content you have on your website that they will get value from.

These emails can be fully automated (known as an auto responder series).

The new subscribers gets really valuable information and you save a ton of time.



Do you want to be floating on the sea enjoying the breeze going through your hair, or slowly sinking?

Focus on email productivity and this will reap rewards in other areas.

How do you reduce the time spent on email?  Will you use these tools?


Clock image by Shutterstock

30 Responses to 5 Email Productivity Tools Guaranteed to Save You 1 Hour A day

  1. “Text Expander is a Mac based application but you’ll also find PC based alternatives.”

    Yes, us “poor” PC users can find alternatives! 😉 There are some great ones- AutoHotkey is fabulous- powerful but a little advanced. Then there is “Texter” by ex-Lifehacker editor Adam Pash which is simple and elegant.

    Apart from your Mac-biased writing, a very helpful article. I am always looking for productivity tips! (sorry couldn’t resist teasing a little!)

      • Haha, thanks, Ian. Believe it or not, although I do have a GMail account, I am still using IMAP for all my email addresses. Google have made a right mess of managing multiple accounts (we have a business GMail account, I have a personal one linked to my Google+ account and my iagdotme email address is powered by Google Apps). But, I’d like to move towards using GMail because of all these cool tools (like sanebox and Hubspot’s Sidekick).

        I have my own system which is similar to sanebox, but it isn’t automatic. I have all my email coming into my inbox and then I manually move all actionable email to my “action” folder. I also have filters to filter out the stuff I don’t need into an archive folder. Works for me, but always wanting to improve!

    • I fail to see how this is a Mac-biased post. Only *slightly* more OS X references. Not even Mac-“based” which you should have written to convey your opinion.

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  2. Ian great tools love me some Chrome plug in’s and anything to make email dissapear is great. Another tool that might add value and certainly adds some jazz to an email is BrandMyMail.com it allows you to send a marketing email, this combined with default text in Gmail makes it easy and huge time saver. Great articlexperience @marketloyal

  3. The best tip I ever received on managing my mailbox was “create a rule on the word “unsubscribe” move anything with that into a read later folder”. It’s excellent and moves almost all newsletters etc to a different folder to read later if I feel the need.

    • Good one, but makes people like me who send a weekly newsletter shiver! You could use a blanket email rule, but it might cause problems when someone uses the word “unsubscribe” out of context. For example a client might send you an email when they mention that they need to “unsubscribe from a recent service” and they’d end up getting filtered to that other folder. The fact that I have used the word “unsubscribe” in this comment might mean the email you receive from Disqus might go into that other folder!
      You could use the service called unrollme which shows you all the email newsletters you’ve subscribed to and gives you the option of subscribing from some or all of them.

  4. errata: not “serious of emails” but series – so is the problem of automated tasks, they don’t know what they are typing 🙂

    “You send them a serious of emails promoting good content you have on your website that they will get value from.”

    Boomerang is one definite application which shows how bad Microsoft could design things. Even in the old days of Vax and Decwriters, everything was “boomeranged” because you sent and received things at the lowest fee rates possible or had database searches done at lowest rates– so it’s 2014 and somebody has an app for gmail that is doing what was routine in decwriter age.

  5. Great Information! Did you tried FewClix (www.fewclix.com) an email productivity tool for Microsoft Outlook and IBM Notes

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