Three Email Tools To Help My Life as MOM

I love mail, whether digital or real, I love receiving notes and messages via mail. A full mailbox or a little envelope with a 10+ blinking make me smile. However, I don’t like to open said mailboxes to find them full of junk. Ick.

I am not as techy as some. In fact, some of my friends refer to me as “Old Dog” because I’ve been reticent to try new ways of technology. But, I’m growing and I’m learning. Over the last few months, I’ve discovered three technological tools that have really helped me, especially when it comes to being productive and managing my time and my email better.

My smart phone

In June, we changed cell phone carriers. We were receiving extremely poor service with our previous company, so it was time to move on. Switching can be  so expensive, that that is often a deterrent to people to put up with a bad company. We researched our options and made what I think are some good choices.

We switched to my husband’s work carrier which got us a big discount. Then I got the cheapest smart phone they had – the free one.

Since FishPapa can’t receive text messages on his phone, we bought the data package instead. This allows me to send emails to my husband, instead of interrupting him with a phone call during meetings or busy work hours.

Likewise, a phone with email capability helps me manage my days better, too. I don’t need to fire up The Black Hole the computer during school hours, but can instead check and send emails from my phone. I anticipate this to be a great time-saver this school year as I need to stay offline when there are lessons to be taught and learned. Emailing from my phone is not easy enough to be much of a distraction, but it’s sufficient to help me throughout the day.

Gmail

Oh my word. Why was I so resistant to change?! I had a Gmail account for about a year before I actually used it. Now, seven months later, I can’t believe how much time I wasted. Not only does Gmail allow you to label emails with more than one tag and archive unlabeled emails to keep but get out of the way, but it also keeps messages with the same subject line together. I don’t need to go searching through old emails to find the information I need.

I already had gmail, but in the last couple months, Amy has clued me into all sorts of gmail management tricks: like creating a cool, enhanced signature and filtering emails to folders automatically.

Wondering where to start? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Gmail, which explains how to make the most of Gmail which “has profited from Google’s innovations to become a very popular email service and has differentiated itself from other services in many ways.” It’s a free download which requires a little input of data. But, the services that Gmail offers are just so numerous. Why hunt for the answers when you don’t have to?

Photo Source: eddiedangerous

Unsubscribe

For the longest time, I would get junk email from companies that I had given my email to. Part of the time, I read them, but the majority of the time I was just hitting delete. And that’s good and well. But, even taking the time to hit delete takes time and in the meantime, my inbox looks fuller than I want it to. So, now, if it’s not communication that I want to receive on a regular basis, I scroll to the bottom and click, “unsubscribe.”

Yes, yes, I do.

It’s been wonderfully freeing to release myself from the clutches of companies who fill my inbox with a lot of fluff. If I know it’s not something I subscribed to, then I report it as spam. But, things that I no longer need, well, we break up, quite amicably actually. And I reap the rewards of a less-cluttered inbox.

I love getting and sending emails, but I don’t want to become a slave to cyber-communication. It is there to serve me. So, playing the email game a little smarter is the answer.

Do you have a cool email trick we can use?

Would you rather subscribe by RSS?
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. This year I even unsubscribed to the companies that I like. I really don’t need to know everytime there is a sale at my favorite stores – it’s just too tempting. I reminded myself that all of the companies I shop at have a web page, if there is something we NEED, I can visit a few sites to find it.

  2. I do the unsubscribe thing every now and again too, and I always feel so much better afterwards! lol

  3. I LOVE my smartphone! It goes with me everywhere. :) My DH teases me all the time. Thanks for the Gmail info….I know I can learn some things from that to simplify my inbox.

  4. Maybe a smart phone will help me stay away from the ‘blackhole’ during school. I’m moving my school room away from this monster so I won’t get sucked in. I’m glad to know it’s not just me.

    And thanks for the link to the gmail guide. I recently opened an account for blog things and it’s been wonderful. I’ve only tapped into a few features so far. Now I’m expecting to utilize many more features.

  5. Msn/hotmail has a new feature that I love. You can sweep your account for a certain email and then it’ll delete all of them and if you want, you can block future ones too!

    • AllieZirkle says:

      @Kelly, What a great feature! I have both hotmail & gmail and gmail is so amazing, hands down! The new hotmail features are competitive though… Should be interesting to see how gmail responds!

  6. To add on to the Gmail bit- Google’s other features are also awesome! I love my Google calendar and my Google docs, and you can use the Gmail labs to keep a mini calendar on the sidebar of your inbox.

    • @Marina, I second that Marina!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Marina, now you learn something new everyday. I did not know about the mini calendar!

    • @Marina, Marina,

      Can you tell me about google docs, please?

      • @Tracy, Google Docs is essentially a free version of Microsoft office. It doesn’t have all the same features, but you can create standard word type documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. What I love about it is that when you save a google document, you can access it from any computer just by logging into your account. You can also share documents with other google users and both of you can work on the document. There are also some templates that you can search and use. For my budget I use one of the spreadsheet templates and just adjusted it to my needs. Google docs is awesome! :)

  7. I love my Gmail! One feature I use is filters. I set up filters for things like bills that I want both my husband and me to see, and have them automatically forwarded so that we both get them.

    Oh, and have you checked out Google Calendar? I don’t know how I lived without it.

  8. AllieZirkle says:

    I’m right there with ya, FishMama! My smartphone has revolutionized my life.

    My daughter has a Gmail account. We have it set up to forward any email she receives –> over to our Gmail account. This helps me keep tabs on what others are emailing (even grandparents!) without actually logging in to her account. I learned the hard way, don’t forward it to an email account that could have an autoreply/out of office message. lol Hannah’s little friend emailed and received my out of office response directly.

    I regularly unsubscribe too! I’ve found that creating a filter to search for the word “unsubscribe” works well to help manage the “junk”. It sends all email subscriptions to one folder where they wait until I have time to unsubscribe or review. This helps keep my inbox clean too.

  9. Thank you for the shout-out my friend. Now I’m going to use *your* homeschool organization techniques to get that part of my life in order.

    Check us out. We’re so compatible. ;)

  10. I don’t have a smartphone, yet; I’ve been looking at them. However, I have an iPod Touch which I use in the same way. I can sync my Google calendar and Gmail contacts when I have the iPod hooked up to the computer. If I’m near free WiFi, I can check my email or go online.

  11. Email on the phone definitely helps me not waste as much time on the computer. I do need to start unsubscribing to stuff I am no longer interested. On a side note, I think it is REALLY tacky when people add you to their newsletter without you asking to be added. There are so many I get that I know I never subscribed to.

    Also, I finally figured out that on iPhone a left swipe will give you a delete button and you won’t even have to waste time actually opening the email to delete it first.

  12. I know what you mean about Gmail! I’ve actually had mine for a few years now (back when it was invite-only) but didn’t care to switch. I only signed up because I didn’t want to offend the person who sent me the invite! Once I started using it, though, oh my! It’s only gotten better over time but even then, it was miles ahead of what Yahoo and Hotmail had at the time. I love using various Labs to make my time even more efficient.

  13. one thing why i am still using yahoo for most of my mails is i am still not used to gmail not having the all important sort function.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] But, about this time last year, I started using my Gmail account and it was revolutionary. [...]

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts

*