I remember back when email first became a thing and I would get SO excited to hear the words”You’ve Got Mail!”. It was such an innocent time, I looked forward to coming home from school and logging in to AOL to see what new was in my inbox for me.
Fast forward to now that I’m a business owner, and it’s like…”No! I’m not ready!” I get a lot of email everyday and it can become overwhelming without a system to organize everything as it comes in. I want to share with you the system I’ve developed to tame my email inbox.
Without a system, managing email can turn into a nightmare. You don’t want important emails to get lost in the crowd. And, you don’t want to allow checking your email to take up your entire day. That’s really easy to do, especially if you have email alerts that go off with every incoming message. This can be a constant distraction that’s a total time waster.
So, are you ready for some relief? 🙂
1. Unsubscribe from everything you don’t love and need.
You don’t have the time, energy, or capacity to be on everyone’s email list. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you love receiving this newsletter (Do you anticipate and look forward to it)?
- Does this newsletter support your life or business in a positive way?
If you answer no to BOTH of these questions, unsubscribe and delete!
2. Filter your email as it comes in.
Once you filter, you’ll never want to go back to a traditional inbox again! Filtering automatically places your email in folders or tabs according to subject, type, or sender. You can filter your incoming email however suits you. To start, five helpful filters include:
- Social Media Notifications
- Important Updates (billing, confirmations, etc.)
If you want to get even more organized you can set up additional folders to suit your business needs. If you have multiple clients, project, or programs going on and you want to keep certain aspects separate you can set up folders for each.
Gmail does this wonderfully. I’m not sure about other email programs, however if yours does not offer an easy to implement filtering process check out mailstrom.com. There you can set up filters for you email WITHOUT having to switch email providers. There is a fee for this service, but it’s totally worth it.
3. Create email templates
I got this great idea from Derek Halpern over at Social Triggers. And, it works wonders! Of the email that you receive in your primary folder, make a list of the types responses that are typically needed. When you do this you will begin to see some commonality in a lot of your email. Perhaps you have emails that ask about your services, ask you to chat over coffee, or about your upcoming events. Create email response templates for your most frequently asked questions (FAQs). You now have something you can easily copy, paste, and send.
Even better, you can now delegate this task to someone else. No, I didn’t say a dirty word! Yes, delegate. Some of your email can be delegated to someone else to manage. You can forward the emails that contain FAQs to a team member to easily respond to with your pre-written templates. Nice, right?
With these three tips, you should once again enjoy logging in to hear “You’ve Got Mail!” Although, I don’t think many people other than my mom (Hi Mom!) still use AOL’s email service but you get my point. 🙂
These are my tips for taming your inbox…what are yours? Do you have any systems that work wonderfully for you? Please share in the comments below!