Is your inbox out of control? Are you missing important business emails? Taking control of your inbox is about more than just organization – it can save you 2-3 hours each week.
Creating a process for organizing your inbox can save you hours of time each week. Here are the best tips to improve productivity.
De-cluttering Your Inbox Can Save You 2-3 Hours Every Week
Even if having over 1,000 unread emails doesn’t bother you, these tips can help ensure you’re not missing anything important amidst all the noise.
You’ll get better results when you realize having thousands of unread email messages is a problem. It’s a problem that needs to be solved. That’s how you can to increase business outcomes – or at least gain clarity about the tasks waiting in your email (and make sure nothing gets missed).
But as anyone who’s ever tried to tackle the inbox can tell you, it takes more than just hoping it will get better – it takes a plan of action.
Sometimes you need a little support to help you on your way.
Here are 3 manageable steps & tips to improve productivity that can fast-track your path to a tidy inbox.
#1 Hey, Are You Reading That?
If you’re a small business owner, you probably belong to a few email lists. These lists connect you with your industry, the products you use, and might help you write your own autoresponder emails.
(I highly recommend subscribing to a few email lists so you can learn how your competitors talk to customers.)
But that doesn’t mean those email lists need to land (and stay) in your inbox.
All the extra email could be adding to your stress. A recent study supports this theory:
So “when you remove email from workers’ lives,” Irvine informatics professor and study co-author Gloria Mark puts it, “they multitask less and experience less stress.” And that’s important because stress itself has been linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, auto-immune disease, obesity, and depression.
— The Latest ‘Ordinary Thing That Will Probably Kill You’? Email
I know my heart rate increases when I get overwhelmed by email. Does yours?
So what can you do? You can unsubscribe to the lists you’re not reading. If that’s not enough (or sounds overwhelming), I suggest using Mailstrom ($60/year for 3 email accounts).
I’ve used Mailstrom since 2014. I love it.
Unlike free services such as Unroll.me, Mailstrom helps you unsubscribe (not just hide) from newsletters, create rules, set messages to expire if you don’t get to them, and can help you get your inbox to zero.
#2 Sweat The Big Stuff
Raise your hand if you’ve never failed to respond to an important email. Yeah, I thought so.
Don’t worry my hand is down too.
For every newsletter and automated email from a vendor, there are actual emails from customers and potential customers that need acknowledgement or maybe even a deliverable (like a status update or a product).
There are some really great templates available for saving your reputation with overdue email responses.
Rather than apologizing for overlooking an email, isn’t it better to head this off at the pass?
If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner who lives out of your email, I recommend using a customer relationship management platform (CRM) that integrates with your email provider (e.g., G Suite, Outlook, etc.).
Make sure your CRM doesn’t require a lot of data entry – because if you’re not responding to emails, it’s also unlikely you’ll do any data entry. A few of my favorites are Copper, Streak, Pipedrive, and Salesflare.
A CRM will help you save the important elements from the email (tasks, appointments, reminders, etc.) and then clear the email out of your inbox (save to a folder or archived).
I use Salesflare. I love it because I can add tasks and notes straight from my G Suite account. It also creates accounts from my contacts so I can keep track of sales processes without a lot of effort.
Failing to respond to a customer is leaving money on the table. Don’t do it.
#3 Great Tips to Improve Productivity : One Task At A Time
We recently posted a video about the Pomodoro Technique.
Study after study indicates that unless you are extraordinary, multitasking doesn’t work.
Read that again. Slowly. Multitasking doesn’t work.
Turn off your email notifications. Schedule a time to work on emails. Use tools like calendar reminders and Boomerang to help you remember and schedule essential emails.
Scheduling dedicated time to address emails properly will enable you to attend to important responses in an authentic manner.
It will save you from making hasty responses (or decisions) you might regret later.
Take the time to be authentic in your business email interactions.
Is there another strategy I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll update the post with the best tips to improve productivity and give you ideas (and a link crediting you).