Like many busy people, I generally spend my days either in meetings or responding to emails, finally finding time to do my actual work when evening rolls around.
As much as I try to get ahead of my emails in the mornings, my inbox is usually inundated with messages throughout the day. Since I have to be responsive to my clients and my team, I find myself constantly checking my emails instead of focusing on my priorities. Very often, the highest volume of emails are unimportant marketing promotions and business spam, but I have to sift through those to get to my important messages.
I mentioned to my colleague that I generally feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of work emails, and he told me that he'd been using Superhuman to help him manage his email. He said it was the best thing he'd done for his productivity at work.
Intrigued, I visited the Superhuman website to learn more. Superhuman costs $30 a month and promises to help me get through my inbox twice as fast. It wasn't very clear to me how Superhuman would help me do that, but I decided to give it a shot. If it does indeed deliver on its promise, then it'd be worth much more than a dollar a day!
I was a bit confused that I needed to speak to someone for a 30-minute onboarding session before I could get access. I actually almost gave up, but in hindsight realized that I wouldn't have made the most of Superhuman without the onboarding session.
When it was time for my call, I expected it to be super sales-y, but the cheerful specialist simply took the time to understand how I used email (I tend to apply a lot of labels and use my email as a to-do list by marking emails unread), and gave me email best practices and showed me how Superhuman built them directly into its core experience.
Here are a few helpful tips that I picked up during my onboarding session:
I didn't realize how much faster I could work through my email inbox with keyboard shortcuts until I tried it with Superhuman. Repetitive tasks such as opening the next email, marking emails read/unread, replying, etc. can be done much faster with the keyboard than a mouse. The time savings really add up when you're processing hundreds of emails per day.
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Instead of manually categorizing emails with labels (a very time-consuming exercise), I learned how to configure Superhuman to automatically group similar emails for me, so I don't have to tediously label every email. Grouping emails also enabled me to prioritize the most important messages (those from my clients and my team) for faster response and to de-prioritize less important emails (such as business outreach, newsletters, marketing emails, etc.) for bulk processing at my convenience.
Mark emails done
This required a bit of a mental shift for me. Superhuman encourages you to mark your emails done rather than leave them hanging around cluttering your inbox. Any emails left in the inbox are assumed to require my attention, and I mark done when I'm finished with them. This results in a much cleaner workspace and workflow than my old habit of repeatedly marking emails unread as my to-do list.
Other bells and whistles
Superhuman has some neat tricks to automate common workflows. For example, Instant Intros automatically thanks to the introducer and moves them to BCC. And you can create templated responses to emails via the Snippets feature. I use this feature to create a templated response to all new client outreach. I know Gmail can also create response templates, but in Superhuman they can do more (e.g. add people to CC) and they're also much faster to use.
On my first day using Superhuman, I was able to split my inbox into a few common categories, one for emails from my team, another for clients, and a couple more for newsletter subscriptions and promotions/business outreach. Instead of having one inbox cluttered with both important and unimportant emails, Superhuman's Split Inbox feature allowed me to focus only on the important emails from my team and my clients, and ignore all others that didn't need my prompt attention. I was able to archive hundreds of old unimportant emails easily, and quickly go through only my important emails. I actually achieved inbox zero for the first time since declaring email bankruptcy a couple of years ago.
Superhuman's workflow naturally helps me work faster through email. I find myself focusing only on important emails, making fewer context shifts, and ultimately spending less time doing email and more time doing work.
And I get to reclaim my evenings for myself!