We all spend far too much time dealing with email. If I was to have a look at your inbox, how many emails would I find cluttering it up? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the answer is far too many!
You may be surprised to learn that if you were brave enough to monitor the time you actually spend dealing with email, it would amount to between two and three hours each and every day. To put it into context that is between 450 and 675 hours a year. And I am giving you the benefit of the doubt, (you don’t check your email at weekends and whilst on holiday do you). No wonder you feel you never get anything done.
Create a ‘To Read’ Later Folder
How often have you opened an email, to find it’s that newsletter that is always full of good information, or information about an upcoming networking event that we are interested in. With all good intentions we close it and say to ourselves, “I’ll read that later”. However in most cases, when later finally arrives, we either can’t locate the email, or have forgotten that we wanted to read it in the first place.
Set up a folder that can imaginatively be called “to be read” and file all these types of emails there to be read at a time of your choosing. This can be done manually or through the power of filters and folders, just about any email client can take care of this task for you.
Would that empty your inbox a little?
Once you have set up a folder create an email rule (in Outlook) or filter (as Gmail calls them) to deliver certain messages directly to that folder when they come in. Make a rule for your favorite e-newsletter, notifications about certain networking events or even ‘The Time Doctor Newsletter’.
But please remember that you have to do something with them sometime!! Schedule time to go and read these emails or they will just pile up in your ‘To be Read’ folder rather than your in-box, which defeats the object really.
Turn off Notifications
If like many people you are easily distracted by e-mail, turn off your e-mail notification. That annoying little ding announcing the arrival of yet another e-mail is very powerful and an invitation to stop what you are doing and to see what’s happening elsewhere.
Turn it off. In fact, go a step further and stop your e-mail system automatically checking for emails. You will then be in complete control and will be able to decide when to check and read e-mail, rather than being dictated to by your computer and being told to check a new message every 5 minutes.
Go On Click – That Unsubscribe Button
There is a good chance that you’re on multiple mailing lists and you probably delete most of them before you read them.
Go on I dare you click on the unsubscribe button. Be ruthless, if you really miss the content you can always sign up again and set it up so that it goes directly to your ‘To be read’ folder. But, for the time being unsubscribing from them will save you a lot of time and trouble.
Managing email can be tough for busy small business owners, but with the same planning and some self-discipline, that I’m sure you put into the rest of your business you can start using email as the powerful tool it is, rather than letting it rule your life.
Let us know your favourite tips to keep your inbox under control You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor