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Quick—what’s the very first and absolute last thing you do at work?

If you work in an office, I’m going to make an educated guess that the answer’s probably checking your inbox (along with everything that goes into that, including responding to and forwarding messages, deleting spam, and so on).

Cue the eye-rolling; we’re inundated by the statistics describing how much time we spend dealing with it—28% of the workweek, to be exact.

And even though email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (really, can you imagine life without it?), there are ways to make it less annoying. As with any repetitive task, there’s an opportunity to make it as streamlined as possible, so you can devote more mental energy to valuable projects.

From clearing out a backload of old emails, to writing shorter messages without seeming rude, to actually receiving responses, we’ve got a whole bunch of hacks that are bound to make your life easier.


1. Your Step-by-Step Guide to Reaching Inbox Zero (Even if You Currently Have 1,000+ Unread Emails)

There’s no rule saying you have to strive for an empty inbox (I certainly don’t have one), but if that’s something you aspire to, here’s how to go about accomplishing just that.


2. How to Make Your Inbox Organize Itself (Just the Way You Like It)

The Muse Co-founder, Alex Cavoulacos, shares the strategy that helps her organize and respond with minimal effort.


3. How to Respond to Every Email Within 24 Hours (Even When You Don’t Have an Answer)

If you’re in an environment where you have to respond ASAP, you’ll appreciate these tips for staying on top of your inbox.


4. 5 Tips for Writing Shorter Emails That Don’t Come Across as Rude or Abrupt

The perfect way to cut the fat from your emails (and save some time, too).


5. 25 Email Etiquette Rules That Are Worthy of a Reminder

Friendly reminders to snap out of autopilot and pay closer attention to your messages—your colleagues will appreciate it.


6. 4 Quick Fixes That’ll Ensure Everyone Responds to Your Emails (On Time, Too)

It’s a pain in the butt to wait for an email that’s holding up your entire project; here’s how to avoid that situation.


7. The Simple Change That’ll Convince People to Respond to Your Cold Emails

Reaching out to a stranger? It’s not as hard to get a response as you think, if you follow this advice.


8. Here Are the Subject Lines That’ll Get Your Networking Emails Opened—Every Time

The small stuff matters when you’re trying to establish a connection.


9. The Surprising Trick to Writing Emails That Get Responses (Fast)

This tip will help you cut down the length (which really is a deciding factor for many people when deciding whether to respond!).


10. 4 Seemingly Innocent Email Lines That People Hate Reading

Better ways to say those annoying, yet common, lines such as “Please Advise…”


11. This CEO’s Email Strategy Is So Smart That You’ll Want to Copy It

You don’t have to be a CEO to implement this handy tip for blocking out email-free time.


12. 6 Quick Questions to Ask Yourself on That “Funny” Email Before You Hit Send

And finally, if you use your messages to express your humorous side, this is a quick gut-check to make sure your sense of humor is appropriate for the situation.