The biggest gripe I hear from entrepreneurs is dealing with their emails and inbox. It can be all consuming, and it’s so easy to get caught up in it that a full day goes by and all you accomplished was answering emails. How do we battle this email warfield? With some easy tips and time management.
1. Filter & Organize: Most email systems (especially Gmail) have a filter system. This means that all of those automated emails you receive like ‘recurring order placed’, ‘New Subscriber to your ezine’, can be filtered to go straight to your Trash. You don’t read them anyway! Gmail also has tabs and labels, so that you can categorize your inbox into different fields. So one tab would be your primary working emails, a second could be social media, and a third the emails that you subscribe to (for resources and great information from various sites you opted in). Check out their options.
2. Social Media Notifications: How many of these do you get in a day? Tons right? If you have someone else managing your social media platforms, have the important notifications forwarded to them to save you a step. If you handle them – simply turn the notifications OFF. This goes for any groups you belong too. BUT, and this is KEY – schedule in your calendar to CHECK in on your social media platforms. You still need to follow, engage, respond, comment and read what’s going on. You DO not want to slip out of touch.
3. Don’t Get Sucked In: Simply make a point of NOT being in your email all day. I know it’s hard and it takes discipline. Pick certain times of the day to check in, address what’s urgent, and schedule the rest in your Project Management System like Basecamp or calendar. Actually put a timer or event on your calendar to tell you when it’s time to check in on emails. It will allow you the time to get projects done, make important phone calls, be more productive and maybe even have lunch!
4. Consolidate: Like many entrepreneurs you wear different hats and thus have numerous email addresses. Gmail is great for being one central location for ALL your emails. That way you don’t need to check a number of different email providers or websites. They all come into your Gmail account and you can reply as ‘any of the email addresses you have’.
5. Delete What’s Handled: It amazes me how many people keep ALL their emails in the inbox. That to me, would be overwhelming and I’d never know for SURE what emails I’ve handled and what I haven’t yet addressed. My suggestion would be to delete ALL emails you’ve addressed and responded to. (If you are waiting on something back from the person –sure leave it there, OR put a reminder on your calendar or notes on your Project Management System like Basecamp.) If you have resources you want to read at a later date – save them in getpocket.com OR save in a subfolder for ‘READ LATER’. Delete all the extraneous emails (or abide by point 1 and 2!). Seeing a smaller inbox will make you feel that more organized, accomplished and free from inbox overwhelm.