Love them or hate them emails are a fundamental form of communication in the business world. But many small business owners and freelancers find themselves constantly distracted by that little blue box that pops up in the corner of the screen.
I recently came across a person’s inbox that had 1023 unread emails in it! Yes you read that right! She claimed that her system worked for her and she was responding to emails that needed dealing with. However on delving a little deeper it became apparent that she was filled with dread every time she opened Outlook. This made her put off writing certain emails which in turn resulted in missed business opportunities. Well, I am pleased to say that she took my advice and we sorted out her Outlook inbox. Now she is able to keep onto of emails, work more effectively and more importantly make more money.
Don’t let 1023 emails pile up in your inbox – follow my top tips:
If you are busy or working on an important project turn off the incoming email prompt. This takes away any temptation to look at them.
There are two types of emails: Emails that needs action and Emails that do not need action.
For emails where no action is required:
1). If you don’t need it don’t keep it! Delete it.
2). If you have read it but want to keep it for future reference then file it. I have several files set up in my Outlook e.g. Contacts, Marketing, Social Networking, Resources. You can set up your own folders and then file the email in the appropriate folder. If you need to read the email but haven’t got enough time you can always set up a folder called ‘Read’ where you store emails that you want to read when you have some spare time.
For emails that need action:
1). Take the appropriate action as soon as you read the email. Once you have done so either delete the email or file it as detailed above.
2). If you have no time to take the appropriate action on reading the email then click the red flag to flag the email for follow up. Give yourself a deadline to complete this follow up by (try not to leave it for more than two working days). Once you have flagged the email you can either leave it in your inbox until you have completed it or you can file it in a folder named Action, where you file all your email that need follow up.
Hopefully by following these steps you can keep an empty inbox! If you need an further advice on email management please contact me and I will be very happy to help.