How to receive emails in batches?
Batching emails is a concept that's been around for many years now. Everyone, from small bloggers to productivity gurus, has talked about the benefits of this practice. And there's a simple reason behind this. It just works. It does make you more productive.
How can I achieve this using Superhuman + Gmail:— Andrew Wilkinson (@awilkinson) February 17, 2020
I want to receive batches of email a few times a day vs email just flowing in constantly.
I just want new email 2-3 timed a day. Like an old school postman.
Let me ask you this: Do you turn on the washing machine for a pair of socks 🧦? I think you get my point. The same applies to emails; it's more efficient to write/reply to many of them in a single batch maybe 2 or 3 times a day, max.
One thing is sure, being notification free most of your day will help you focus on important stuff.
Here are 3 ways to receive emails in batches:
Set an alarm
This is the most straightforward way. There's no science or long explanation needed for this. Set two or three alarms at the times you wish to check your email.
A few of problems could arise from this no-frills solution.
- You might forget to close the app and continue to get distracted by incoming emails.
- You might not hear the alarm.
- You might miss important or urgent emails.
- It is not scalable.
Boomerang is an app that works on top of Gmail and Outlook. Among their features, they offer a way to receive emails in batches. It lets you receive emails at certain times, send autoresponders, and it can handle exceptions, so that you can still receive emails from particular senders, for example.
If you're happy with working and consuming your email from a web browser, and you don’t work with a team this might be a good option for you.
Missive is the team inbox and chat tool that helps teams collaborate around many channels. It also offers a robust way to receive emails, SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, and other types of messages in batches.
It’s crazy that no one has mentioned @missiveapp but I do this every day with this email client. This feature and so much more has dramatically improved my productivity. No affiliation, just a happy paying customer.— Zee (@Zee) February 17, 2020
With Missive, you can create rules to define which emails arrive in your inbox at precisely what times.
Let's start with a simple reception time rule.
When enabled, all emails arriving between 12 am, and 7:59 am won't show up in your inbox until 8 am.
The same rule can be created for other types of messages (WhatsApp, Twitter, etc) and for different times of the day. You can also create one to stop all emails during weekends or holidays.
The above rule is rather general and not practical for everyone. It’s naive to think that all messages have the same level of priority. So let's add a couple more conditions to filter out all emails except the ones coming from your business partner and husband.
The setup is very similar, but we added an exception for all email coming from email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can add another condition to the rule, where it lets through any email that contains the word "urgent" in the subject.
Now all important emails will make their way to you instantly, and the rest will wait.
Missive rules offer endless combinations to make email batching work as efficiently as possible. You can filter incoming emails based on:
- Reception time
- To and From
- People in CC
- Attachment name
- Email accounts
- Conversation state (unassigned, assigned, closed)
- Unreplied and open for X time
As a collaborative tool, Missive even lets you snooze emails for coworkers.
Another way to stop checking emails all the time is to turn off all push notifications in the desktop and mobile apps. Missive lets you choose what types of messages should trigger notifications and which shouldn't. This works great if you are delegating email to an assistant, they can triage messages and @mention you only for the really important stuff.
If you ever want to check emails before the scheduled time, you can easily access them in the Snoozed unified mailbox.
You might want to let people know about your new email policy. So we recommend you add a small text in your signature for a few weeks.
Or even better: add another action to the rule we previously configured to send an automated response when people contact you during the email-free periods. This way, they will gradually stop expecting speedy replies, and you won't feel guilty.
Here's how you can do that:
It's time we take back control of our time!
To learn more about the productivity benefits of this practice, you might want to read this article.