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Best email filters of all time

Can email be something that helps our focus?

Email can be productive, but it can also be a source of distraction.

We know this because nearly 3/4 of people check their email when they’re bored.

18 percent would call this an email addiction. Which is a pretty high number for self-reporting.

If you’ve ever felt pain once again returning to your email inbox, just know you’re not alone.

Work-related notification dings, such as those from email, are even know to cause work stress, known colloquially as Slack PTSD.

Is there any hope? We believe there is. So we scoured the web and social media for "filter" (manual or automation-based) tips on managing your focus within email.

Here are the tips. We saved the biggest changes you can make for last. Enjoy!

Avoid email in the morning.

I mentioned checking email when bored. There are a few reasons why checking email first thing in the morning might not be the best idea.

For one, it can start your day off on a stressful note if you have a lot of messages to sort through. Additionally, checking email first thing in the morning can make it harder to focus on more important tasks that you need to get done during the day.

It will make it hard to focus on tasks after that as well, because of the dopamine effect. The dopamine effect is the tendency for people to become addicted to activities that release dopamine, such as checking email.

When you check email first thing in the morning, you’re getting a dopamine hit that can make it hard to focus on anything else for the rest of the day.

Hover on your Gmail tabs.

This tip comes from Alex Cavoulacos.

If Gmail’s colorful tabs are distracting as they pop in new emails, try hovering over the tabs instead of clicking them.

Now, you can handle important emails in sub-inboxes when they come through, but when you see that the email is from Twitter or your bank, you can continue going about your workday without switching contexts and multitasking without reason.

Shortcut your frequently-typed responses.

Whatever your email client, you can probably save prewritten responses.

See how to do this in Gmail.

However, here’s a lesser-shared tip that can help you especially if you deal in customer support a lot.

Save your frequently-typed responses as keyboard shortcuts in your computer or phone.

You can use a format like faq:shipspeed as a shortcut to get a nicely written reply out to your customers quick.

Kill notifications.

Email notifications can be distracting and can pull you away from your work. If you’re trying to focus, it’s best to turn off your email notifications so you can stay focused on your work. Email notifications can be distracting and interfere with your ability to focus. By turning them off, you can minimize distractions and better focus on the task at hand.

You don’t need to reply to every email.

You shouldn’t feel the need to respond to every email for a few reasons. First, it’s not always necessary. Second, you might not have the time. Third, you might not be able to provide a helpful response. And fourth, you might not be in the mood. Feeling guilty about not responding is silly. You shouldn’t beat yourself up over something that isn’t that important.

Only accept notifications from your contacts.

There are several benefits to only accepting email notifications from people who are already in your contacts list. (Meaning people you have emailed before.)

You’re less likely to miss important emails this way, and you’re also less likely to be distracted by unimportant emails. Plus, it’s easier to prioritize and respond quickly to important emails when you’re only receiving notifications from people you know.

But how do you set this filter up? It’s currently not possible in Gmail, but consider using a more privacy-focused email service provider and the world opens up.

Some of my favorites for this purpose are Fastmail (what we use here at Peachweb website agency) or Hey or Superhuman.

How to get a handle on your email.

Email can be a great tool for staying in touch and organizing your life, but it can also be a huge distraction. If you find yourself frequently getting sidetracked by your inbox, try following these tips:

1. Set specific times for checking and responding to email.

2. Unsubscribe from any newsletters that you don’t really need.

3. Use the "delete" button liberally. If an email isn’t important or relevant, get rid of it.

4. When you do need to respond to an email, try to do it as quickly and concisely as possible.

5. If an email thread is starting to get too long or complicated, consider moving the discussion to another medium, like a phone call or in-person meeting.

By following these tips, you can help keep your email inbox under control and avoid letting it become a major distraction in your life.