Top 3 Tips for Managing Your Email Inbox
If you’ve been watching Mi-TV for a while, you’ll know that I like to focus on topics that help you get more time back so that you can focus on your business. And, one of the biggest “time suckers,” on the planet has got to be emails.
Yes, emails are one of the most effective forms of communication in our digital era. But if you’re constantly reading and replying to emails, it can really hinder productivity.
If you’re a business owner, there are probably days when your phone is blowing up with emails. It takes a certain level of will power and determination to resist the urge to check your inbox periodically throughout the workday. If you’re not careful, your email inbox can chain you to your desk.
Email is a chief procrastinator and it’s one of those things that can make you feel like you’re busy and being productive when in actual fact, you’re not getting much done.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I find myself getting sucked into the email vortex. However, I’ve come up with some great ways to help me better manage my emails, so I’m not constantly glued to my inbox.
In this post (and over on episode 116 of Mi-TV), I reveal my top three tips to help you deal with your emails so that you can focus on building your business without completely neglecting your inbox.
Create an automated email reply
My number one tip to help you manage your emails is with an automated email response. Many people assume that automated emails are impersonal and like a digital shrug off. But there is a way to do it right. You just need to choose your words carefully.
I try to keep my automated responses short, friendly and to the point. I usually will reply with something along the lines of;
“Hi, it’s Emma Mills here.
If you’ve seen my latest Mi-TV episode, you’ll know that I need to follow my own advice and to get my head out of the dirt and into the clouds, I can’t be responding to email all day!
My PA, Rebecca, will be monitoring my inbox and if there’s anything urgent, she’ll grab my attention and let me know. otherwise, I’ll look at my emails at least once a day to respond.”
In most cases, I think a response like this is fair. When you’re tied to your emails, you’re not doing your best work because you can’t be productive.
The most effective automated email response will give some kind of expectation of when you’re ready to reply to their email. So, it’s not like you’re saying you’ll be ignoring them. You’re just letting them know that you only check emails once a day and if anything urgent comes through, you will respond in a timely manner.
Don’t create too many email folders
Organising your emails into lots of different folders can be a real headache. Managing one folder is challenging enough for the average business owner. But, if you’ve got a maze of folders to sift through, you’re going to get frustrated and waste even more time going through them all.
Instead of having a stack of folders that you never keep up with, have just one folder that you can easily manage. Having too many folders with multiple accounts is never going to work. Unless you’re an epic multitasker and can do a million things at once, multiple email folders are never the answer.
One folder is the best way to keep on top of your emails. If you need to find an email from a certain client or business, you can search for it using the search tool. There’s no need to bog yourself down with lots of different email folders.
If you outsource your emails, you might want to create a private folder for yourself that only you can see and another folder containing the emails you want to outsource. That way, you only have to deal with the ones in your private folder while everything else is taken care of on your behalf.
Get a new email address
My third and final tip is to get a new email address. Make it a slight variation from the one you already have and use it as your new inbox for all the emails you need to deal with.
Everything else that can be outsourced or wait until a later date can go into your previous email inbox. Creating a new one gives you a clean slate to handpick the emails that you do want to respond to.
If you’re like me and you’ve subscribed to a lot of different things using an old email address, that inbox can quickly clog up. So, having a new email address and only using it for important emails that you want to personally respond to gives you the chance to do that with minimal fuss.
Plus, if you are thinking about outsourcing your inbox duties, having a new email address makes it much easier to keep certain emails private. This is great if you want to keep a conversation private. Then, you can let your outsource team manage the rest of your emails from your previous inbox and you can free up a lot of time for yourself as a result.
I hope these three tips help you to deal with your emails without feeling overwhelmed and stressed out!