5 Suggestions for Achieving Effective Email Management

Do you dread opening your email inbox? Are the emails piling up to the point that you avoid opening your email because you don’t want to deal with the mess?

If you, you are not alone. Most entrepreneurs struggle with keeping up with their email. The elusive dream to inbox zero? It’s probably not going to happen. In fact, your goal shouldn’t be getting your inbox to zero (as nice as that would be). Your goal should be to put a system in place that allows you to control your email, rather than let it control you. Then, when/if you get to inbox zero, it’s a plus. 🙂

5 Suggestions for Email Management

To nudge you along, here are some simple and easy to implement suggestions for getting control of your inbox:

1. Check Emails Once or Twice a Day – No More

Anymore than twice a day is overkill. If you get into the habit of checking your email once every morning and/or once before ending your workday, you will become more productive, and set a more reasonable expectation for clients, vendors or others.

If you have to, turn off all email notifications and remove the email app(s) from your cell phone. Just because you receive an email doesn’t mean you have to open it that second.

2. Folders and Filters are Your Friend

Set up folders in a way that makes sense for you and create filters so that emails automatically get delivered into the appropriate folders. It will clear your inbox and take the pressure off you to answer every email that comes through.

Then, during your scheduled time, you can quickly glance through the folders and deal with those that need to be handled right away. Schedule time once a week to go through the less important emails.

3. Use a Timer.

When you do sit down to check your emails, use a timer. Set it for 30 to 45 minutes – NO MORE. Work through the emails that can be responded to the quickest and then focus on the more time-consuming ones. When the timer goes off, you are done. Shut down the email client and move on to the next thing on your agendas.

4. Create Email Templates.

As a successful coach, you get a lot of the same questions, inquiries, and/or requests. Instead of re-writing the same email every time. Create a series of templates that you can copy/paste into your emails when applicable. You can also set up an automatic email response for things like vacation, etc.

(This Friday’s Freebie is going to be a swipe file of sample email templates you can use.)

5. Delegate Your Email to Your Online Business Manager (OBM) or Virtual Assistant (VA)

Who says you have to respond to every email yourself? In fact, email delegation would be a great starter project when bringing on your first OBM / VA. She can create and set up the folders / filters for you, she unsubscribe to newsletters/emails (with your permission) for you, she can create email templates for you and copy and paste them into emails for you. As you get to know each other, she can even respond to emails for you and pass on only those emails that you need to handle.

You know the time-consuming burden email management can be. But, it doesn’t have to be. If you delegate this project, it will free you up to focus on those things that need your attention more.***

6 BONUS: Unsubscribe from Outdated / Unread Emails

If you are like me, you probably sign up for a lot newsletters and email lists, and then hardly (if ever) read them. It is possible that you are still subscribed to lists that you joined several years ago, and they are no longer applicable or relevant to you. If that’s the case, it is time to start subscribing.

Seriously, if you haven’t read an email from a particular list in six months or more, it is time to think about letting go. If you haven’t looked at it by now, you won’t in the future. You can always re-subscribe if you want in the future. For now, unsubscribe. Or, at the very least, create a filter so it doesn’t clog your inbox.

***By the way, did you know that I offer an email management service? Well, I do. 😉 You can check it out here (will have to scroll down a bit). This is what one of my clients, Jeni, has to say about my email service:

I used to dread checking email, but now I can pop into my inbox without overwhelm, see at a glance what needs my attention, and sift through subscriptions when time permits. Delegating email management to Carol’s capable oversight gives me more time and energy to devote directly to my clients.”

Let me ask you, How would it feel if your inbox was under control? How would it feel if you didn’t dread your email or if you could jump in, do your thing, and get out in  no time? I’m guessing it would feel like a burden has been lifted off your shoulders, right?! It would feel freeing to know that your clients, potential partners, vendors, and other important emails are being responded to in a timely manner, right? And, just think how much more time you can spend on revenue-generating activities, instead of wasting it on weeding through tons of emails.

If you want that freedom, I encourage you to sign up for my email management service as soon as possible. Right now, the service is offered at $199 per month; however, come January, the price is going up to $297.

So, if you are ready to get your email under control, free up your time to spend with clients and money-making activities, and start 2019 with momentum, don’t put it off.

Misused Words: Forward vs Foreword

From what I’ve seen, the mistakes between forward and foreword is more of a problem of spelling more than understanding but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves, right? {smile}

Misused Words: Forward vs Foreword

Simply put, forward means going toward, ahead, or advancing in some way.

For example: Going forward, we will have to work better as a team.

For example: I hope the Post Office will forward the mail to my new address.

Foreword is an introductory note or statement. This is often seen at the beginning of a book where someone writes something about the author and/or the book she is writing.

For example: I would love to have one of my favorite authors to write the foreword of my new soon-to-be-released book!

For example: Have you read the foreword to Jeff Goin’s latest book?

What is most tricky about the two words is the spelling because forward has no “e” and has an “a,” whereas foreword adds an “e” and has an “o.”  There is no real trick to remember the spellings for each, but for some reason, when I see or write the word “foreword” I picture a golfer calling out “fore!” LOL! It may be goofy but it helps me and maybe it will help you too. 🙂

Next Steps

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For information about my proofreading and coaching services visit the work with me page.

The Lost Art of Letter-writing

Oh, my. I came across this TED video yesterday and as soon as I watched it, I knew I had to share it with you.

This short video made my cry. You see, in this video, Lakshmi Pratury talks about the letters her father for her before he passed away. Besides my compassion for her loss, her words touched me because they brought back some memories.

As someone who loves to write (no surprise there!), I used to write a lot of letters. Of course, those were the days before email, instant messages, and Twitter. In particular, I would write to one of my cousins almost weekly and I looked forward to her response. Then, when I spent time discerning a religious vocation (that may be a surprise to you!), I wrote my parents and family once a month and my friends a little less frequently. I tell you, I cherished the letters I received from my mom! They somehow got lost over the years, but I wish so much that I still had them. (Even today, I still insist on sending physical Christmas cards!)

This video reminds me that the need for the physical is important. Emails and the digital world is great (and I will never give them up), but there is something special getting a letter that someone took the time to write, fold and send through the snail mail. It sure beats bills and adverts!

Lakshmi Pratury wants to start an old fashioned letter-writing revolution. She plans to write for her son, and I think it is a great idea. So, I’m in. How about you? You in?