Just because email helps us to accomplish work objectives does not mean that processing emails is actual, meaningful work (unless of course, you perform a customer service function). In fact, the average office worker spends almost one third of their day processing email.
If we dedicate one third of our time to something, shouldn’t it be meaningful?
One small slice of the email problem that I would like to help you resolve today is to eliminate any amount of time you might be spending writing similar responses to similar emails. Take a moment to think about the 100s of emails you respond to each week. How many of these would be more efficiently resolved by simply inserting a polite, detailed, but completely pre-written (canned) answer?
Company technical support departments long ago addressed this problem of repeated wheel generation with two simple solutions: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Canned Responses (that pre-written answer I mentioned). In fact, Gmail has incorporated the ability to very rapidly insert canned responses into the body of an email as one of its basic email functions (it was a Gmail “lab” for many years beforehand).
Here is what it looks like in Gmail:
Although this exact same function is not available with Outlook, the Signatures button on the Messages tab can be used to achieve the same result with almost the same level of convenience and efficiency.
So the next time you find yourself ever writing the same answer to an email that you’ve already written at least once, consider creating a canned response so that you never have to manually type out the same response ever again.
Finally, as an avid user of canned responses, I’ll be spending the next few weeks posting just a few examples of some general canned responses you could use to save time time typing out lengthy responses and also help educate others that abuse their email privileges.
To access all of these canned responses, simply click the canned responses category in the left-hand dropdown menu.