Emails. We either love them or hate them. Many of us dread the return to work after a few days off scenario knowing that they are very likely to return to a mountain of emails.
We can let emails rule us or we can control them.
Many of us, myself included fall into the vortex of emails and it is hard to get out. I am one of these people that hates seeing the bolded number 1 in my inbox, it is almost like it is yelling at me to be read! I know I am no alone with that urge to read emails but there is away around it.
Here are some tips to help you get on top of your emails and not have them control you.
1. Set aside times during the day to read and answer your emails.
Outside of these times, close the page hosting the emails down so you can’t see them. If you have notifications pop up on your phone for every email you receive then turn off the sound and vibration and put your phone away where you can’t see it. Trust me, take the time to do this as that little sound your phone makes when an email comes in is far too tempting to resist.
2. When it is time to check your emails, be efficient.
Take time to read the important emails that are going to affect your workload for the day and act on them and leave the rest for later.
3. Set aside some time in the week to read your ‘later’ emails.
These can be things like newsletters, articles, information emails from clients that don’t need to be address straight away and emails that need some time spent on them to get the tasks done.
4. Unsubscribe! Many of us receive emails that we don’t even read.
They arrive in our inbox and then we delete them. Take an extra few seconds to unsubscribe from these emails. I like to set myself a target of 3 – 5 emails I will unsubscribe per week if I find I am deleting a lot of them.
5. Set up folders in your emails.
I don’t know about you but if I open an inbox and I see dozens of emails there waiting for something to be done to them, I get overwhelmed. This may affect many of us this way. Set up folders and sort the emails into those folders, so at the end of the day you may only have a handful of emails left in the inbox. I like to keep my inbox to less than 10 emails per day and the rest are filed. You may say “but what about the work that needs to be done on those emails, they can’t be filed away?” Set up an AA To be Actioned Folder. It is important to put the AA on the front as it will sit at the top of all your folders. Move the emails you need to work on to this folder and then work from that. It gets them out of your inbox, and you feel much more organised and clearer each time you look at your emails.
6. Set aside time each month to clean out your emails.
Having multiple folders could lead to having quite a lot of emails saved. Generally, if you haven’t read them within a month or even two, you are probably not going to read them. Clean up the folders and save any emails to files if you do want to read them later.
7. Use a Virtual Assistant.
Even after you do all of that you may find that you are still not keeping on top of your emails or worse still you are missing important emails and not getting back to valuable clients. This is where a Virtual Assistant can assist. They can keep an eye on your inbox and answer any important emails that come through which will free up your time to get other important tasks done in your business.
Emails are just part of business, a necessary evil so to speak. Many people get overwhelmed with the amount of emails coming in and this state of overwhelm can often affect your productivity.
These little tips will help to reduce that and have you working efficiently again.
If you would like to talk to me about how to use a Virtual Assistant to keep your emails under control, then feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.