Admit it: You already check your inbox every few minutes.
Email takes up 23% of the average employee’s workday, the Harvard Business Review reported in 2016. If you’re going to be spending that much time staring at your inbox, it might make sense to convert your inbox into a productivity tool that also helps you manage your other tasks. In a recent article for Popular Science, David Nield rounds up a few ideas for doing just that. Here are a few of our favorite alternative uses for your inbox.
1: A to-do list. Because you can check your email from any device these days, it can become a convenient place to store notes, Nield writes. However, keep the recipient fields blank, he warns. Otherwise you could end up sending your boss your grocery list.
2: A journal. Jot down your thoughts in an email, then address them to yourself and send. Keeping a journal this way (instead of on paper) also means you can change the formatting, quickly paste in photos, and search previous entries.
3: A social media manager. Certain web services such as If This Then That can allow you to post to your social media accounts by sending your post in an email. This can be helpful if you want to post to multiple accounts or post without the temptation to scroll through your feed, Nield writes.
4: An article feed. When you find an article online you want to read later, simply share it via email with yourself. You can read it the next time you check your inbox or file it away in a dedicated folder.
5: A blog. Most blog platforms allow you to publish posts to your blog via email. You write your thoughts in the email, send it to a specific address, and the platform will automatically publish it for you. Nield shares that this can be particularly helpful while traveling (Nield, Popular Science, 2/12).