Welcome to the fourth post in this series, where we’ll focus on one of the most used tools in any business – Emails!
It still amazes me how many Solopreneurs face a massive challenge with keeping their email inbox size under control and manageable.
Firstly, I believe we need to be clear on WHAT we use emails for. It is a communication tool, yes, but it is NOT an instant chat solution. If you are using emails like that, then please stop right now and look for something else. For example, Slack, Skype or WhatsApp are great tools to chat with your team/clients.
What are emails then? Considering we use them every day – and many send and receive a lot them – it is a tool to support your business.
Hence, we need to treat them like that and set in place at least a basic process to follow. This is not so hard to do once your email inbox is under control, yet how do you ‘tame the beast’ in the first place?
Here are three tips which you can work through straight away and with a little bit of time invested:
The number of newsletters and other emails we subscribe to is insane! Today, start by looking through which ones are beneficial and you actually read. Unsubscribe from the rest. Be ruthless and do it!
Inbox clean up (email to pdf / delete / move emails)
Next, look at anything that is not newsletter related. By that I mean client, team and other business-related emails. Then, apply the ‘delete / move / email to pdf’ rule. By that I mean; delete any that aren’t needed nor important, move relevant emails to relevant folders and any that are important and need to be kept ‘print to pdf’ and file away in a safe place (I have a blog post about this if you are keen to read more about it)
Start by taking a snapshot of what there is. Decide on the emails that you REALLY need, condense as much as possible, and lastly delete and ‘email to pdf’ if they are important/need to be backed up.
Right at the end, delete as many folders and sub-folders as possible. Condense the places where you can keep emails.
Your inbox will shrink and become easier to manage by applying these three tips. The next step is to become clear on the day to day dealings with your emails. Think about this:
- What do I class as ‘important’ emails?
- What emails do I receive daily?
- Where are they sent to (one or more accounts)?
- Am I cc’d in many of them? If so, what do I need to do with them, if anything at all?
- How do you deal with solicited and unsolicited emails?
- Are there particular email types I don’t want or need to deal with (for example, team emails that are more ‘chats’ or generic information, etc.)?
- When do I delete or backup (print to pdf) emails?
Once you KNOW which type of emails you need and want to deal with, you can break it down into a process that works for you and your business.
Maybe you can get the help of a Virtual Assistant and handball her/him a large majority of emails to work through or it means you are clear on which ones you will just delete or file away.
This process initially means you need to invest a bit of time into it, but once done and a strategy is implemented you will reap the benefits; Feeling less stressed, more in control and able to focus on the areas you really want to – serving your clients and growing your business!