Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

4 Simple Ways to Manage Email on Your Phone You'll Be Mad You Didn't Think of First

You’re in line at Starbucks. You’re the first one to arrive to a meeting. You’re just waking up.

What do all these situations have in common?

You’re also checking your email—and groaning at the thought of having to go through it all.
Who doesn’t spend a significant portion of their time away from the desk managing—or I should say attempting to manage—email on a phone? It’s impossible to get away from. However, rather than letting that little notification number (that keeps getting higher and higher) stress you out, you can simply change the way you handle it.

Here are four methods I’ve learned to help me stay a little more sane.

1. Make Your Phone Read Messages to You

To fully utilize your commute to and from work, consider using Talkler. It’s an app that reads your emails to you. And it doesn’t just stop there, it also enables you to delete them as you go or reply with recordings. That means you can keep both hands on the wheel (or holding the subway pole) and still be productive en route to the office. And good news: It works on exchange platforms as well as most company email providers.

2. Read and Act Right Away

Picture this: You’re standing in line waiting for coffee. So, you peek at your email, but then, before you can even finish reading, it’s your turn to order. Then you glance again while you wait to pick it up—each time re-reading the same words. But of course, you never have time to respond, so you check the same email when you get back to your office.

Re-reading emails, over and over isn’t saving you any time. Instead, assuming it’s not urgent, I move messages that require responses to a folder called “email tasks.” If the action required needs to be handled by someone else on your team, I forward the message to them right then and there. And if the message does not require any action, I delete it immediately or archive it. If you don’t have time for any of the steps above—put your phone away for the time being.

3. Set Up Filters

In addition to filing everything yourself, you should also take the time to set up a system that automatically filters your messages into specific folders. (If you need help getting started, check out this or this). There’s no reason for you to manually sort out company-wide emails from urgent notes when your phone’s ready to act like your personal assistant. While I recommend you do this one in general—it really does make a world of difference on your phone since you’re trying to really minimize incoming email.

4. Create a Dedicated Email Signature

Your mobile email signature can be both a gatekeeper and a scapegoat. Making it clear that you’re using a phone will manage the other person’s expectations. It warns them that any typos are probably autocorrect, and that you’re not able to send an attachment that lives on your desktop.

Now, this isn’t an excuse to type “ur” or “me 2”—but an explanation if you do make a minor mistake. You can go with the basic, “Please excuse any typos. This is a quick mobile response,” or the even more succinct, “Sent from my phone.”

Even if you just start using one of these methods, you’ll see an immediate improvement with how you react to incoming emails. Suddenly, instead of feeling stressed when something else come into your inbox, you’ll be able to carry on like normal, knowing there’s a strong system in place.

Photo of woman texting courtesy of Shutterstock.