Today I want to focus on one of most time-consuming tasks a virtual assistant can perform. It is an email management. Let’s start with a bit of fact: emails are still one of the best converts systems to reaching out new clients. People use emails, newsletters and subscriptions to get more engagement with their businesses. It’s easy to let your inbox take a control of your workday and it is hard to work out a new routine to keep your emails organized.
Keeping your inbox clear it is a hard work, but it pays off. Once you’ll create a system that allows you to gain more control of your emails you’d start to save your time when dealing with emails. And that is the outcome we all want to achieve.
Email management issues
Over a time I have developed a system that helps me manage my time for dealing with emails. But before I will share with you few tips how to organize your inbox I’d like to determinate most common problems my clients struggle. They are almost the same for every client niche regardless if they are business owners, bloggers, students, photographers or engineers.
Because I am working with really busy people the problem number one is they don’t have time to read their emails. Their lack of time generates more problems like:
– Full inbox and no time to reading all the messages,
– Not knowing how to manage their messages
– No possibility to find already opened emails,
– Having few email addresses that need to be managed separately
– Not having a working follow-up system for sent queries,
– Not having draft messages and autoresponders set up.
The above problems are just a few examples of a real day to day struggles with people inboxes.
How can I help solve their problems then? And how I actually help them with email management?
First things first. I always like to work with a bit homework done by my clients. So I always recommend setting up priorities first so I’d know what’s the most important tasks and what needs to be done asap. I have even prepared Prioritization matrix as a freebie so my clients wouldn’t have any excuses to start working. Once everything is set up I can start working with their inboxes. For email management, I follow few rules I have listed below.
How to save time when dealing with emails
Once my client’s priorities are set up I’m starting to clean up their inbox according to the following rules:
– Merging few emails account into one. This solution can save a significant amount of your time. It is convenient to work on one inbox instead of five (for example). I use Gmail, Outlook or Thunderbird to do that (depends on my client’s needs)
– Unsubscribe from unwanted messages. Use Unroll.me to do it. Just simply log in and unsubscribe just with one click.
– Set a specific time for email management during your workday. It can be once or twice per day It doesn’t have to be every ten minutes. Use time track software like Toggle when working on your emails.
– Create a dependable system for tracking your emails such as flags or creating tasks.
– Create replay by xx day folder so you could have a place where you can store emails that need to be re-think or ones that required further action,
– Use rules to sort less important messages and use colour to identify emails. If you are receiving emails from the same contracts sort them into groups, add colours and folders.
– Handle every email once and then act on it with four D rule: deal with it, delegate, defer action or delete it.
– Consider creating email templates if you are sending similar messages.
– Focus on working in blocks and give yourself a dedicated amount of time to spend in your inbox. Do not respond to all of your messages at one time. Instead of this focus on 5=10 messages at a time.
– Give yourself permission not to replay for every email. Sometimes no reply it is an answer as well.
– Create autoresponder for all of your messages- it can be something like this:
Thank you for your message, I will do my best to respond within 24 business hours, I work Mon- Fri 09-17 BST UTC+1h, Best wishes, Kasia
– Turn off new email notifications, to not to be distracted when working on something different.
Managing your mailbox can be tricky and time-wasting activity. You need to get back control of your inbox before it will start to be too overwhelmed for you. You can do some kind of mistakes when you can’t fully focus on your tasks. That’s the outcome you don’t want to achieve.
For email management use available systems like Gmail, Outlook or Thunderbird, and tools such as Unroll.Me, Toggl, Trello or Asana. Make your life easier by working smarter not harder. If you are still unsure what do you want to do, you can always delegate email management to a virtual assistant and I’d be more than a happy to help you.
Hope that all of the above tips will suit your needs. There are so much more ways to deal with emails I believe. If you know them please share it with me!