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.

3 Reasons You are Working Too Much

As a coach who runs an online (or offline) business, you wear a lot of hats. You are helping people create better businesses and lives, you are helping them overcome the obstacles that stand in their way, and you are helping them have massive mindset shifts that transforms their lives. You do amazing work that makes a huge difference.

At the same time, you also have to handle all the business aspects of, well, running a business. You have to stay on top of social media, staying in contact with your list, paying the bills, dealing with vendors, and the list goes on and on. In short, there is a lot of work involved in running a business. It can make the dream of a balanced work and life seem out of reach.

Image by geralt (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

However, you don’t have to work too much in order to accomplish a lot. Having a comfortable work and life balance is possible. You just need to know why you are working too much, and then what to do about it.

Therefore, here are the top 3 reasons you are working too much:

1. Failing to Plan

No, that’s not a mistake. There is a quote (don’t know the author) that says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Yes, it may seem counterproductive to take the time to plan instead of jumping right in to your to-do list. However, when you make a plan, you can be more intentional and realistic in the work you can/want to do. Planning will also allow you to be more strategic and focused because you can make sure that only the important things are put on your plate at any given time.

The cure: Before you close your office for the day, take a few minutes to plan for tomorrow. Make a list of the top three things you want to accomplish and then ADD THEM TO YOUR CALENDAR. Write down exactly when you will do those things, what you will need to accomplish those things, and then stick to that plan.

2. Not having Systems in Place

Every online business MUST have a set of systems and processes in place and yours is no exception. Even putting in some rudimentary systems will make a big difference in your business and allowing you to work smarter, rather than harder. That’s the name of the game, isn’t? To work in a way that is smart and efficient which will allow you to give your best to your clients? Of course, it is.

The cure: Take inventory of the systems and processes that you already have in place. Are they effective? If not, what needs to change? Don’t have any systems? Create a list of the top 2 or 3 things you can do to automate your business and start putting them into practice. For example: Do you have a service to automate your social media posts? Do you have autoresponders in place and an email service for sending newsletters and broadcasts? Do you have an editorial calendar in place so you can pre-schedule blog posts?

(Psst. If you need help figuring out what systems could be put in place for your business and how to do it, I would love to have a chat to see if working together would make sense. To learn more and to get on my calendar, go here.)

3. Doing it all Yourself

This is a biggie. Many, if not most online entrepreneurs, are DIYers (Do it Yourself-ers). I’m not going to lie, I am. I love tinkering and learning how to do things for myself, especially when it comes to learning programs on the computer. However, just because you can do something yourself doesn’t mean you should.

If you are doing everything yourself, then you are definitely in danger of working too much because learning to do everything yourself takes time. Doing everything yourself takes time – and it takes time away from doing those things that will make you money, it takes time away from doing client work, and it robs you of the work/life balance you desire.

Let me ask you this: How many things are you doing do you actually love doing and are an expert at? How many things are you doing that you are okay at doing but you don’t particularly like doing? How many things are you doing but you know you don’t do them very well and don’t like doing them, either? How much time and money are you wasting by doing everything yourself?

The cure: Delegate! Hire at least one person who can take some things off your plate. Better yet, slowly start building a team of experts who can help you run your business more effectively and efficiently. For example: Can you hire an Online Virtual Support Specialist? Graphic designer? Social Media strategist? Someone to help you with marketing? I can guarantee that if you get the support you need, you will not have to work too much every again!

To put it out there: Of course, I would love to potentially be one of those people who can support you and your business. I have several packages and programs to help established business and life coaches run effective and profitable businesses. In order to see if working together makes sense, I’d love to have a conversation with you about it. You can get more information and get on my calendar here.

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P.S. When you are ready, here are four ways I can support you in your business:

1.  Snag a copy of the free report, “5 Ways a Virtual Administrative Support Specials can Impact Your Business and Increase Your Profits.

In this report you will discover just how much freedom and success you can have in your business if you stop doing everything alone.

2. “Like” my Facebook page.

It is the place to be to get free weekly training, support, and encouragement in growing and automating your business.

3. Sign up for a Business Audit Mini-VIP Session.

During this session, you will discover the gaps and holes in your business processes, where in  your business you can delegate and automate, and get a strategy to help you make more money, take better care of your clients, and create a better work/life balance.

4. Work with me and my team privately.

I have several packages and programs to help you run a successful, profitable, and enjoyable business. I can help you see the big picture of your business and then create a strategy to move your business forward. Then, I can help you implement that strategy. Take a moment to learn more and get on my calendar today.

Schedule in Some Margin Time

If you want to get a grip on your time management for the long-term, you must have a long-term plan. A while back, I discovered my new favorite time management tip: schedule everything. It made a huge difference in how I spent my time but it wasn’t perfect.

Build in Margin Time

There were time when I felt overwhelmed trying to fit everything in. I’ve had to scale back a lot but the biggest difference for me came when I started to schedule in some margin time. I’ve read about the importance of margin time from several sources and they are right.

Inevitably, you will almost always need more time to do something than you think. Whether it is getting ready to go somewhere, to writing, to handling administrative tasks, etc. There will be interruptions. There will be issues, if something can happen, it often does!

Therefore, if you build in some margin time, you give yourself breathing room. It allows you to keep the overwhelm under control because you aren’t under the gun. For me, once I built in some margin time, I have been able to keep an even better handle on my time management.

Yes, I’ve had to let some things go. Yes, I’ve had to make even more hard decisions on how I spend my time. But, that’s a good thing! I know if you build in some margin into your schedule it will make a difference for you too. It will give you greater focus and it will give you some extra space. So give it a try!

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Tweetable: Schedule in Some Margin Time