Managing your emails so they don’t get the best of you

Managing Your Emails So They Do Not Get the Best of Your Time

Email is great, and saves a lot of time.   Email certainly beats having to wait three or more days for someone to get a message from you.  You can use it to be more organized, set tasks, and more. But, email can also get out of control and suck up a lot of time if you’re not organized.  It’s easy, and it’s also easy to sign up for way too many lists.  I’ll admit it, I am guilty too.  Every store we go to wants our email anymore, every little Facebook post with a cool download that will keep you from xyz, or help you take control of xyzzy or, well you get the idea.  They all want you email.

 

Your Email is Full of Everyone’s Agenda but Yours

It’s true.  Most every email you get these days is full of the needs of others, or the want for you to whip out that card and spend some of your hard earned cash.  The worst thing is, if you’re spending too much time in your inbox, you’re losing money twice.  Once for the reading and once for the spending!  Don’t fret my friend, there is hope and I will share with you the email rules I’m following to make sure it doesn’t get out of control.

Here are my top tips for making sure your emails aren’t controlling your time!

  • Use Rules!  Oh rules.   I use filters, labels and special folders to keep my email better organized!  Just remember, simple is better than complicated.  For example, one folder for Social Media, Shopping, Coupons, and for your business emails.  I have one set up to grab all of my corporate emails so I can find them fast!
  • Read Emails and Act Immediately!  When you open an email, take care of it right then.  Read it, then act.  If it requires nothing, delete it; if it has something interesting you want to note, use a note taking program to save it (Like Notes on your phone and computer).  If it has a task, copy and paste it to your to-do list and calendar.
  • Set up specific email check times.  Don’t leave the email notifications turned on all day long so that you’re constantly dealing with email.  Instead, choose specific times during the day to check email.  At the very least two times a day, but what should work well for you is in your morning, after lunch, and an hour before close of business for your day.  Let people know your schedule.  Some people even have an auto response set up letting people know those times, and if it’s more urgent, how to reach them faster.
  • Create another email!  The great thing about email addresses, is in most cases, you’re not limited to how many you can have.  Don’t go nuts, but do create a separate email for unimportant information.  Those businesses that require an email sign -up to view information, or non-relevant newsletters. Having a separate customer service address is a good idea too.  Then you can quickly take care of your customers without the overwhelming digging for their emails.
  • Be free with the Delete Key!  It’s tempting to see all those cool newsletters with great points and things to learn, but the truth is, you’re not likely to ever read them again.  Use your note-taking tool to keep the IMPORTANT points, and then delete.
  • Create a Swipe File or Hot Keys with Automatic Replies if you find you’re saying the same things over and over again, which is not uncommon.  Create a swipe file or hot keys that will enable you to answer those questions again and again.  Another way is to create a FAQ on your website and link to that specific answer.
  • Keep email replies short and sweet and simple.  You don’t want to write really long emails to anyone.  If you do, people get confused and they don’t understand your answer.  At the most, and email answer should be about three or four paragraphs.  If you include bullet points it will be easier for the recipient to act on.
  • Copy Tasks to Your Calendar Immediately.  Use your calendar to it’s fullest advantage by copying and pasting anything with a date in it to your calendar immediately.  if it is a task, copy and past to your project management system too in order to stay on track with your activities.

 

My final idea for you, if you can, is to outsource anything to do with customer service to someone else.  Customer service replies are almost always the same with some personalization.  Let your assistant handle that for you.  Using these tips and tricks can help you manage your emails so that they don’t take up your day!  Seriously.  Tame the email master, and it will pay off in many ways and give you back more time each day to use on more important tasks!

 

 

 

 

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