Email has got to be one of the biggest challenges and advantages for every business owner, as it is much easier to contact someone via email. But on the other hand, receiving hundreds of emails a day can suck the life out of you and make you miss some very important information.
This is why proper email management is so important! There are several components to this, so let’s break it down a bit further.
If you have multiple projects you’re working on, or various organizations you’re a part of, create folders (and sub-folders, if necessary!) for them so that you can go to one spot to see all the information.
If there are similar emails sent out often, say status updates on a project, create a rule in your email that all status updates relating to a certain project, are directly sent to that folder. Then when you’re ready to review the latest status update, you know exactly where to find it.
We are fans of sub-folders! This allows us to keep our folders a bit more organized and while it may take a few more clicks to get somewhere, it will save us time from searching through one mass folder to find a single email.
An example of how we will organize our folders:
Just be sure that the folder names make sense: it should be obvious what is in the folders or you will end up spending unnecessary time searching.
It is possible to have one email that may be relevant to more than one place. This is where the Label feature comes in handy! You can add multiple labels to one email so it will appear in all its relevant spots.
While it may not be the most exciting task, filing your inbox helps keep it organized and managed. Depending on your preference, set a reminder weekly or monthly to file your emails. This also serves as a fail-safe as you will notice if something got overlooked or forgotten and you can address it at that time.
Tip: as you respond to an email with no further action required on your part, file it! After hitting the “Send” button, before you close the email itself, label it and move it to the appropriate folder.
Creating rules for frequent or specific emails can also save you time in your inbox by having them directly delivered to certain folders. Just be sure you remember to check these folders as emails arrive or it defeats the purpose of its effectiveness.
If you plan on being away from your email for an extended period of time, set an auto reply so that others are aware. As many have become so reliant on email as a way of communication and are accustomed to quick responses, your delayed reply to an urgent matter may be quite harmful.
Tip: add a note in your signature as to when others can expect your reply. If you only reply during work hours, you may want to note that emails are only responded to Monday – Friday between 8am – 4pm. This sets the expectation that if their email is received outside of these hours that they will receive a response only within that timeframe.
While this isn’t a form of organizing your email, it is a form of not letting it take over your life. Emails can be debilitating to your productivity as we always seem to have our inboxes open on our phones and computers, letting every notification distract us from our work.
As a reminder: email is NOT your work! It is solely a means of communication that assists your work. One of the best things we have learned recently is that pausing your inbox during the times you decide, prevents those notifications from distracting you. You can pause it manually or you can even schedule times for it to be paused, and then schedule yourself one or two times daily to spend reviewing and responding to emails.
How many emails do you receive that you don’t even open and automatically delete? And you likely receive these emails once or twice a week, too, right? If there is a reason you have not already unsubscribed to them, set a rule to deliver them to another folder. If there is no reason why you continue to receive them – UNSUBSCRIBE. By allowing these emails to still be delivered to your inbox you are welcoming distractions with (virtual) open arms.
Do yourself a favour: spend a few minutes each week and review the junk mail you’re receiving and unsubscribing from the lists that no longer serve you.
By implementing a few of these tips you are setting yourself, and your inbox, up for success. Having less emails and organized folders will allow you to focus on the ones that are really important and keep you on top of all the goings on of your business and projects, while not spending endless hours scrolling through pages of emails.
If after reading through these tips you still feel you require some additional assistance in your inbox, contact us to see how we can help you detox your inbox!