Are you drowning in email? As bloggers, we get tend to get a lot of email and it can get overwhelming. So how do we handle it? Here are six actionable tasks to streamline your email management.
In this hangout:
Dianna Kennedy of The Kennedy Adventures
Having systems, and good habits in place for dealing with it all can help free up your time, and declutter your mind and your life.
There are many methods you can put in place to cut down on the number of emails you receive, and the time you spend responding to the emails you do get. Not only that, but Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook express each have their own unique features which can help you organize, and keep you accountable to the amount of time you spend using them.
Set specific times to check email.
Diana Recommends checking email only four times a day – ideally at 8:00 A.M., 12:00, 4:00, and again at 8:00 P.M. Though bloggers often will get time-sensitive email, the odds of a person or brand truly needing an answer within four hours are minimal, and if they do, as Kelli points out, the reality is that the level of attentiveness they require will make them more difficult to work with than is worth.
By making a commitment to set specific times to check and deal with email in batches, you guard against the temptation and time suck of checking multiple times, and can be more present in your other tasks throughout the day.
In addition, if you’re just checking your email throughout the day on your phone, there will inevitably be situations where you don’t have time to respond, or when you need to wait until you’re on a computer to respond. Doing this in effect, causes you to have to go through your email twice, wasting a lot of time, making it more likely for emails to fall through the cracks, and causes brain and inbox clutter.
Set a Timer.
When you do sit down to handle emails, be sure to set a timer to keep yourself from getting sucked in. When you sit down to focus on something, it’s so easy to lose track of time. The way to avoid it is to set an alarm! Give yourself five minute – or ten, or twenty! Whatever you need – and get to work. Don’t get distracted, don’t check social media, just get it done.
This is especially helpful when you’re trying to declutter your inbox. If a backlog of email has piled up on you, it can take hours to sort through the clutter, and get everything straightened out. You can’t realistically get it all done in one sitting, so set your timer before your go into delete, archive, or respond. Start chipping away!
Touch It Once.
Respond to, archive, or delete your email right away. Don’t close it until you’ve either responded, deleted, or archived!
If you’re in a time crunch to the point that you don’t have time to respond or delete right away, you probably really don’t have time to be checking your email in the first place! All it’s going to do is create clutter in your mind, and divide your attention.
Unsubscribe from time wasters.
Don’t subscribe to newsletters from retailers with whom you don’t do business. You don’t need these time wasters or the clutter in your life! What good are they doing you?
Kelli’s handy tip for dealing with massive amounts of promotional email, is to type “unsubscribe” into your email search bar, which will bring up all of your emails containing that word – usually at the bottom of the promotional email. Then you can open the emails and unsubscribe from them, or simply bulk delete.
Create archive folders
This is a fantastic way to organize emails that you need or want to save. For instance, if there are brands that you work with regularly, you may want to create a folder dedicated to their emails. That way, you can easily find them for reference whenever you need to.
In Gmail, you can create folders and sub-folders which can make email sorting even easier. For instance, you can create a folder simply labeled “brands”, and create a subfolder under it for each brand that you work with.
Keep your emails short and sweet.
There’s usually no need to include back story or chitchat. Just go straight to the point, and be concise. The odds are good that the recipient will appreciate your brevity.
Think about your own preferences: do you have time to sit and read through the equivalent of small talk before getting to the point? The odds are, the person on the receiving end of your emails is busy as well.
Kelli, Crystal, and Dianna share many tips, tools, and strategies for streamlining, and making email less of a hassle.
- Do you know how setting up canned responses can save you money?
- Do you know how to Boomerang?
- Do you understand threading emails?
- Do you take advantage of your email provider’s flagging system?
What can you get rid of? Ask yourself if you really need to be notified every time someone follows you on Twitter, or posts in one of your Facebook groups.
To hear all of these ideas – and more – expounded upon in depth, watch the free Learn To Blog Hangout below.