#76: My inbox is INSANE, how can I get it back under control?

Office Operations

This month I’m doing Q&A and you’ve probably said this a time or two (or ten), “My inbox is INSANE, how can I get it back under control?”

I often hear from business owners that email is very powerful but can feel very VERY overwhelming – almost like an addiction they just can’t kick.  I also hear words like time-suck, productivity-killer, and low-value work.

And when you look at how much time you spend doing that time-sucking, productivity-killing, and reactive low-value work, it can be downright depressing. You’ve got better things to do!

I’m not talking about getting to inbox zero because that’s usually not an attainable goal for most of us, and really, who cares about inbox zero? But I am going to give you some simple ideas on how to make it WAY more manageable.

If you feel like some days there’s no way to get ahead and you want to break free from your email, this quick video is for you.

This month we are doing some Q&A and chances are, you’ve probably said this a time or two, “My inbox is insane, how can I get it back under control?”

Some signs that you have some gaps in your email management system, you feel overwhelmed with the number of emails, 50-100, 500, just feels overwhelming and you feel like you are never getting ahead. Another sign, you feel stressed that something is going to fall through the cracks and you don’t feel that you can trust someone to handle your email.

Definitely signs that you don’t have an effective email management system, so let’s put one into place.

First, clean up some of the mess. Unsubscribe to lists whose emails are now irrelevant or you’re no longer interested. There are software apps that can help with this such as unroll.me. My challenge to you is to unsub from 75% of the lists you’re on.

Second, folders and labels are your friend. Create a separate folder for things you want to review at a later date. For example, I subscribe to Donald Miller’s Business Made Simple which is a daily email that links to a quick video. You can’t easily find these on his website so I like to keep the email in a folder and set aside an hour or so to go through the ones that interest me. I don’t want dozens of them clogging up my inbox so they go into a separate folder.

Third, take advantage of technology. In your email client program, there are many tools that enable you to automate some processes. Eg, in Outlook you can set up rules that process your email based on rules. Eg, for Donald’s emails, based on the sender name, they automatically go into his folder. When I’m working with a client, I make sure to categorize those as high priority which calls attention to them over the other emails. A feature in Gmail is Priority Inbox, which finds messages of importance and sorts them for you to prevent email overload.

Those are foundational things you can do to get your inbox back under control. going forward, set specific times to check and respond to emails so that it’s not taking over your entire day. Trust me, checking email can turn into a full-time job if you let it. Ultimately, your goal as a business owner is to delegate this aspect of your business so start thinking of a game plan to hand off this task to a virtual assistant.

If you already have a VA and things aren’t being delegated appropriately, it could be that you have a fear that things aren’t getting done and are being a bottleneck, or perhaps there aren’t clear guidelines or no follow-up system for incoming and outgoing emails. If this is you, then check out my Growth & Profit Plan for Effective Email Management.

Catch up on other Q&A episodes + resources mentioned in the video:

Did you enjoy this episode and want to put it into action? Grab this kit!

Growth & Profit Plan: Effective Email Management

$37.00

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With this Effective Email Management Growth & Profit Plan, I show you how to set clear guidelines so that you feel confident delegating this time-sucking task that most business owners don’t want to give up, as well as tips to effectively manage incoming and outgoing email.

WHAT YOU GET

The Effective Email Management Growth & Profit Plan includes:

  • Training video
  • Downloadable audio
  • Transcript
  • Slide deck
  • Two Email Management workflows – your A-Z blueprint for how to handle email yourself or letting others process your email

PLEASE NOTE: Once you purchase, you will receive an email with your login/password to gain lifetime online access to your Effective Email Management training.

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