Getting Over Email Overwhelm
Getting over email overwhelm is a five part blog series in which you’ll learn the exact steps you can take to gain control of your inbox and start making email work for you rather than against you.
Dealing with e-mail has become a constant struggle for many people; there are too many of them, we never get on top of dealing with them, the inbox is constantly full and they continue to arrive like swarms of angry wasps’ intent on diverting, distracting and creating stress in our already too busy lives. It needn’t be like this.
Ready for the final part
Part 5: Making Email Work For You
Throughout this blog series we’ve concentrated on ways you can control your email. But today I want to talk about something a little different – how to make your email work for you. After all, if you’re going to send and receive on average 116 emails per day it only makes sense to be as efficient as possible.
First, think about all the emails you answer that get a similar response. Questions about your products maybe, or requests to schedule an appointment. Responding to these types of emails – while absolutely necessary – is a waste of your time. If it takes you one minute to respond to an appointment request (and that’s pretty conservative) and you get one such email per day, then you’re wasting 3 hours per year. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather spend that three hours reading a good book than answering an email.
These emails can be completely automated using an email auto-response, which is easy to set up in most email clients. In Google mail, for example, you can set up a “canned response” using the Google mail labs feature of the same name, then create a filter and apply the canned response to all emails that meet the criteria.
Beef Up Your Signature
Next, let’s look at beefing up your signature. You might already have an automatic signature, but if all it says is some pithy quote, what’s the point? You want your signature to work for you, not just look cute. Consider adding links to your social media accounts, your latest product for sale, or your blog. Anything that gives readers another look at your business.
Just don’t get carried away. An email signature that’s longer than the email itself is just annoying.
Finally, watch your subject lines. Some email clients (like Google mail) helpfully thread emails according to subject. So if you frequently send and receive emails with the same subject, they’re quite likely to get lost in an old thread.
Instead of just hitting reply – take an extra second to change the subject line before sending. Rather than 47 emails that all say “re: party location” you’ll have one that stands out: “re: party location CHANGED” and is much easier to find – not only for you, but for everyone who receives it as well.
When it comes to taming the email tiger, there are four points to keep in mind:
- Be the boss – don’t let your email control your life.
- Use it the way it was intended – and use other tools to handle the jobs email isn’t good at.
- Keep everything put away – just like your house, clutter accumulates, so keep your inbox clean.
- Get organized – multiple email addresses might be necessary, but multiple in-boxes are not.
Master these simple concepts, and you’ll be well on your way to getting rid of email overwhelm for good.
Till Next Time
The Time Doctor – Mike Gardner