Email Management in 8 Steps

Email ManagementEmail is great

and saves a lot of time. You no longer have to wait three or more days for someone to get a message from you. You can use it to be more organized, set tasks, and more. But, email can also get out of control and suck up a lot of time if you don’t practice good email management and stay organized. Below are 8 steps that you should consider when practicing email management.

  1. Use Rules, Filters, Labels and Folders – Remember that simple email management systems are better than complicated ones, so don’t go too crazy with these, but do create labels and/or rules and filter to help you organize your mail better.
  2. Read Emails and Act Immediately – When you open an email, take care of it immediately. Read it, and then act. If it requires nothing, delete it; if it has something interesting you want to note, use a note-taking program to save it. If it has a task, copy and paste into your to-do list and calendar.
  3. Set Specific Times for Checking Your Email – Don’t keep your email notifications on all day long so that you’re constantly dealing with email. Instead, choose specific times during the day to check email, at the very least first thing in the morning, after lunch, and about an hour before the close of business. Let your people know your schedule.
  4. Create Separate Email Addresses – The great thing about email addresses is in most cases you’re not limited to how many you can have. Don’t go nuts, but do create a separate email for unimportant information such as business that requires an email sign-up to view information, or non-relevant newsletters. Separate customer service addresses are good too.
  5. Be Free with the Delete Key – It’s tempting to save all those cool newsletters with great points and things to learn, but the truth is, you’re not likely to ever read them again. Use your note-taking tool to keep the most important points, and then delete.
  6. Create a Swipe File or Hot Keys with Automatic Replies – If you find yourself saying the same things over and over again, which is not uncommon, create a swipe file or hot keys that enable you to answer those questions again and again. Another way is to create a FAQ on your website and link to that specific answer.
  7. Keep Email Replies Short and Simple – You don’t want to write really long emails to anyone. If you do, people will get confused and not really understand your answer. At the most an email answer should be about three or four paragraphs. If you include bullet points it will be easier for the recipient to act on.
  8. Copy Tasks to Your Calendar Immediately – Use your calendar to its fullest advantage by copying and pasting anything with a date in it to your calendar immediately. If it’s a task, copy and paste to your project management system too in order to stay on track with your activities.

A final email management idea is to outsource anything to do with customer service to someone else. That way you don’t even need to deal with it. Using these tips and tricks can help you manage your emails so that they don’t take up too much of your time and effort. Taming the email monster will pay off in many ways and give you back more time each day to use on more important tasks.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

 

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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10 thoughts on “Email Management in 8 Steps

  1. Hey Mike,

    Very good tips! Email can quickly become a nightmare, especially when you have a number of websites with support email addresses attached to each one. Currently, I have 16 email accounts that can become overwhelming, especially my 3 personal accounts. I like tip #6 with the suggestion of creating and linking to a FAQ on that website.
    Michel Snook recently posted…10-Minute Pages Review – Steal, Deal, or RobberyMy Profile

  2. I think we are all guilty of leaving notifications open “just in case we miss anything”
    Great tips Mike – we have just started to train someone to deal with support for us because it can take a long time especially when launching a new product.
    Also some people can be shall we say, quite impatient.

    Sue

  3. Email… I have a love/hate relationship. You’d have heart failure looking in my accounts as I rarely delete! I do delete spam, notifications and newsletters in my business account. Gmail, I read what I want to read and the rest is sat there unread (150,000 of them arrgghh). I have blitzes where I mass delete and unsubscribe.
    I don’t leave my email open and check it 2-3 times per day. Never first thing in a morning as that is way too distracting. I usually start over lunch, then again at the end of a working day and occassionally the evening if I am expecting something and not seen it on the previous 2 checks.
    I’ll take your tip abot acting immediately – adding to notes/calendar and moving on. That would streamline me more! Thank you 🙂
    Jan Kearney recently posted…Social Blog Blueprint Review Part 1 (Is This Blogging Course for You?)My Profile

  4. Hi Mike

    With rules, what I do is filter messages I know I signed up for into a folder for each group, then the messages that are unfiltered I am pretty sure I can just “mass delete” without reading more than the “From” part.

    I confess – I check emails too often. Will work on it, I know it’s a failing.

    Thanks for a good reminder to limit this “time drain”. Joy
    Joy Healey recently posted…Scottish Independence Referendum and BloggingMy Profile

  5. Thanks for the great tips Mike. It is so easily to get distracted by all the notifications available. #2 n #3 are my priority now ;p Thanks once again!

  6. Hi Mike,
    Eight excellent email management tips, all of which I ‘mostly’ use.

    With #6, about creating SOP’s for responding to multiple requests needing the same answer, I’d like to add something I’ve used in the past:

    Using those questions you’ve had to create ‘canned’ answers for, create a FAQs type document/web page and insert it between the catalyst for the questions and your email account. Good customer service and saves you time.
    Stay casual,
    Edward Thorpe