In this article, I am going to share with you three proven methods to control your email inbox. The result will be less stress, more time and better customer service. I know email is a huge problem for so many people and it’s something that I would love to be able to help you with.
If you’re like most people, you spend way too much time in your inbox. You’ve got it open all the time, you’re sitting there waiting for the next thing to come in and the reality is you just live your life around putting out fires left and right. I get it, I’ve been there before.
I also want to tell you that working through these strategies and implementing some of these strategies over time has been a complete game changer and it allowed me to start multiple businesses to scale up and to just be happier and be healthier.
The first method to control your email inbox, that I want you to try, is something called inbox zero. This method is just what it sounds like, it’s literally getting your email to zero constantly. Make that a regular habit, okay? How are you going to do that? Well you’re going to do it by having folders. Folders in the right places, for the right things.
For example, if you were in a managed IT services business, you may want to have folders for each large client. However, for retail business it doesn’t make sense to have a folder for every customer, so you may want to have folders by service or product range instead.
So when an email comes in, either you were going to put it in the right folder or ideally and this is number two you’re going to hire a virtual assistant to do it for you.
Virtual email management
I have someone who works full-time for me and manages this. Keep in mind that virtual assistants are a lot more affordable than people believe. You could pay for someone in the Philippines anywhere from $100 – $200 a week, full time, to help you out as a virtual assistant.
It is a true game changer. Anyway, my virtual assistant helps me with my email inbox everyday and this is how she does it. We’ve got folders for all the different types of communication. The different teams, the different companies, different folders for clients, etc. The two most important folders are “Needs attention today or tomorrow”. This is the stuff that is pressing and only I can answer. The other is “Needs attention sometime”. Again, these are emails that only I can answer, however I can get to it any time this week and there will be no consequence for the business if I am late.
Having someone help you achieve inbox zero will allow a major improvement to your life and the way that you’re running your business. Rather than just relying on your email as your productivity tool as a way to glance your email and see 20 emails sitting there that all need your attention and you just get pulled in different directions, all day, every day and you you never get to really operate your business on your own terms.
Learn to ignore
The last method to control your email inbox is learning when and how to ignore. You see we unintentionally train people to keep emailing us and keep emailing us about menial things. So if it’s a client emailing to reschedule, they should already have a way of either rescheduling online or maybe you know calling your assistant or whatever. It’s not something that you should be doing anymore, even if you were doing it at one point.
Even if you believe you’re really great at it or it provides great customer service, face it, it’s small stuff and you need to get the small stuff out of your way and out of your life. Things like frequent questions, email newsletters, surveys etc can be dealt by others, not yourself.
However, on the other hand, let’s say you have an intern who’s got a clinical question for you. Well, that intern should be saving that question for supervision but you’ve got to train them to do so, otherwise they send you that clinical question and you’re sitting in your email, so you reply 3 minutes later.
You’ve just trained them and reinforced them to expect that type of communication from you and to just have full access to your time, whenever they want.
I appreciate that it is going to take a while and significant change for you to get the hang of these things and actually have them make a difference in your life and your productivity and your happiness. However I can guarantee you that they will, if you give them a try.
Again, just to review, one, work towards inbox zero all the time. Number two, consider hiring a virtual assistant to help you. Thirdly, learning when and how to ignore emails.