Do you feel like you’re drowning under a mountain of emails? Maybe you’re tackling some each day, but they come in quicker than you can deal with them? You might think that this is just part of owning a business, but I’m here to assure you that the zero inbox IS achievable! Read on for my top tips on how to tackle the emails and get back to the stuff you enjoy about business.

Make yourself an organisation system

Once you’ve sorted out any unnecessary emails, it’s a good idea to come up with a way to categorise your important ones. Each new email should fall into one of the following three categories:

  1. Emails that require no action on your behalf
  2. Emails that require a simple response
  3. Emails that require a level of thought or action

For the first option, you should deal with these as soon as they pop up – simply delete them, archive them, or forward them on to the relevant person, and you’ll have one less email clogging up your inbox. The same goes for emails that require a simple response – if you can spare 30 seconds to reply and archive your email, do it now. If not, make sure you do it by the end of the day – you’ll feel so much better having the email handled then looking at it again the next morning. 

The third class of emails is where a little more organisation comes in. For more difficult emails, sometimes it’s best to come back to them when you have dedicated time to think the email over, or action any items that you need to. In this case, my go-to is a tag system. If you’re using a platform like Gmail, it’s really easy to quickly tag the email under a relevant category. That way, when you have time to come back to it you know exactly what area it falls under, and can deal with similar emails in one go. You can even colour code your tags as you wish – a true organiser’s dream! However, if you find you’re spending more time tagging than actually dealing with the emails, it might be best to skip this step and simply power through your inbox when you can. Which leads us to…

Set aside time in your calendar purely for emails

Once you have a better idea of how to manage your emails, it’s time for the hard part – actually managing them. I recommend setting aside dedicated time each day to go over your inbox. Depending on the amount and complexity of your emails, this could be anywhere from 15 minutes a day to an hour or two – but setting aside priority time for your inbox will ensure that it’s not left to the next day again… and again… and again. 

The other thing to think about is when you want to tackle your emails. Depending on your style it could be first thing in the morning, last thing in the afternoon, or at a few key points throughout the day. The other thing to do is turn off your email notifications – research shows that jumping from one task to another is simply ineffective, so dedicated email time trumps the ‘ding’ every time!

Final Thoughts

If you find that even after implementing some management strategies, you’re just not getting to all your emails, a trusted VA could be just what you need. Contact me today to discuss options to suit you.