Have you ever noticed that you work better when everything has its proper place? Feeling scattered and unorganised is costly for entrepreneurs, and one area that quickly becomes overwhelming and time consuming is our email inboxes. As a successful business owner, you have many standards for yourself and your business.
Make sure you also have standards for your email management. Here are a few to live by when it comes to email:
1) Schedule Email Time
Instead of starting your day by opening your email, set aside a specific time to check the inbox. If you begin your day by opening your email, often you are immediately caught up in a request or task and you never regain control of the day. Successful entrepreneurs control their day, and one way to do that is by having a set time to manage emails.
Also, make sure you’re not leaving the inbox open on a browser or tab. This is a fast way to get caught up in emails all day. Set a time for checking and managing your inbox. Consider using a timer to limit the minutes spent on emails. Once the timer goes off - you’re done.
2) Eliminate the Debris
First, delete all of the spam and promotions. They clutter your inbox and your brain. Get rid of them! Also, delete or archive any emails that do not require a response. Delete the emails you will never need, and archive the emails you may need in the future.
Finally, unsubscribe to the unnecessaries. Are you still subscribed to an email list even though you just wanted the free opt-in? Get off their list. It’s taking up unnecessary space, and you don’t want to have to keep deleting the emails from the same person over and over. Unsubscribe. It’s a time-saving tool in the long run.
3) Take Action
After you eliminate the unnecessaries, it’s time to manage the true inbox. Here’s a little phrase I like to use when it comes to the remaining emails in my inbox:
Decide and Act - There’s No Coming Back!
What does this mean? It means that the remaining emails should be dealt with right then. There’s no leaving an email unattended in your inbox and saying, “I’ll come back to that.” If an email requires a response and will take less than two minutes - respond immediately. Does an email require a response, but would take more than two minutes to address the need? No problem! Add this to your task list and schedule a time to complete the necessary work associated with the email.
4) Organise Using Folders and Labels
As a business owner, there are times when you’ll want a record of important business done over email. This is a great time to use folders. Create a folder for specific clients, projects, purchases, etc. Use the system that makes the most sense for you, but make sure you use folders. Not only is it easier to clean out your inbox, but you’ll also have an easier time finding specific emails when they have been properly categorised and put in folders.
5) Hire A Virtual Assistant to Manage Your Email
If managing your inbox just brings stress and frustration, you may want to consider hiring a professional to manage email for you. You’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs hire someone to take this burden off their plates, because the stress just wasn’t worth it. You know your strengths and weaknesses and the best places for you to spend your time. If email management is getting in the way of you doing your best work - it’s time to hire someone.
Email is a fantastic tool for running your business: however, if not managed properly can be detrimental to your productivity. Whether you manage your email or hire a professional, having a system in place will have a significant impact on you and your business.
My name is Selina Johnson and I'm a Business Support Expert providing Virtual Business Support to businesses. We help SME's with administrative, technical and creative support so you are free to grow your business and increase your profits.
Contact us today to discuss how we can add value to your business.
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