Emails are an essential part of any business, providing us communication with clients, co-workers and prospects. However, all too often, we business owners let emails rule our day.
It has become normal to have Outlook or GMail sitting open so that we’re alerted to every new message as it comes in. And notifications on our phones, just in case we miss something when we’re out and about. These features mean that email not only interrupts the business projects that we’re working on, but rudely intrudes on our personal time too.
And whilst we might convince ourselves that we need to stay connected, in case a client needs support or a new enquiry comes in, more often than not it’s just Groupon, telling us we’ve got a discount on facials! Is this really the best use of our time and attention?
Learning how to process your emails in a productive manner will not only save you precious time each day, but allow you to stay focused for longer and generally be more productive.
Here are our tips to help you process your emails for improved productivity:
1. Limit how many times you check your email each day
Turn off those instant notifications on your phone or other mobile devices and only log into your email account at set times.
2. Unsubscribe from everything you don’t really want to read
This is extremely important if you want to get email volume under control. If you are signed up for lots of newsletters, voucher sites etc. then just take a little time to get yourself off the list. Also, if you have Facebook and Twitter notifications it might be a good idea to turn those off as well.
3. Use rules and filters
You can set up almost any email account to filter out certain emails that you will want to read later, delete those that you are not interested in and flag up the most important ones that need your attention. Making use of the features of your email account, whether its GMail, Outlook or Apple’s Mail app, can help to save you time processing mail manually
4. Keep your responses brief and your subject lines clear
When you do need to respond to a message, ensuring that your answer is clear and concise will reduce the likelihood of receiving replies to enquire further. If your reply needs to be longer, flag the email and put it into a folder so that you can respond to these at a set time each week.
5. Hire a virtual assistant
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a gatekeeper; someone to filter out the noise, eliminate the distraction, and highlight the emails that really need our attention? Virtual assistants can do just that! You can provide your VA with clear instructions on how you would like your email dealt with so that you no longer have to go through the long process of reviewing emails, or even responding to them!
How do you manage your inbox? Do you have a virtual assistant to do it for you? Leave a comment 🙂