Friday, June 24, 2016

Slaying The Email Dragon

Email has become the new mail.  In earlier times, we would run to the mailbox as soon as we saw the mailman leave each day, just to see if we got a letter.  Today, we tend to check our email every time the cellphone chirps out a notification, or our computers pop up to remind us.  It feels as if we can never get away from it.

Add to the constant pinging of incoming email the fact that, once received, we have to deal with it.  The email inbox has become the pile of junk mail on the dining room table or kitchen counter.  Admit it - you have that one place in your house where all the "snail mail" goes when you walk in the door and it may or may not be dealt with within the next year.

As a business owner, you're getting more email than you did before you decided to start your company.  You're getting hit from all sides - customers, prospects, employees, vendors, sales people - it never ends.  That doesn't even count the junk email you get every day into your personal inbox.

The average person has three different email accounts; that's just an average.  Is it possible to control all that information bombarding you every day?  It is!

In my book, "Help!  My Email Is Ruling My Life!" I outline steps you can take to not only get your email under control, but to keep it there.

  • Schedule 30 minutes at the beginning and end of each day to deal with your calendar and email
  • Use the "one-touch" rule - touch each email only once and then get rid of it or file it
  • Look at each email with an eye toward "Do you love it?" "Do you need it?" Does it make you money?"  If the email doesn't meet one of those criteria, delete it
  • Stop saving emails "just in case."  Everyone who ever appeared on the show, "Hoarders," says they keep things just in case they might need it at some point.  
  • If the email is important, file it.  If there's an attachment, save the attachment and delete the email
  • If you're using the Gmail or Yahoo webmail pages, upload your accounts into Apple Mail, Outlook or Thunderbird so you can sort through it quickly
  • Sort email first by who it's from; one client had over 2000 emails just from LinkedIn she never read
  • Next, sort by conversation and save only the last email in a string, as it'll have all the other emails embedded within it
  • Set up an "urgent" email folder and move your most important things to get done today in it
  • Set up "rules" within the email client (Outlook, etc) so certain emails get filed automatically
The rest of your day, only look at your email every 30 minutes and turn off your notifications.  You'll be amazed at how quickly your day goes and you'll get more done.

I did an interesting study on how badly email is out of control and how quickly it can be brought back to manageable.  Download my free white paper, "How To Slay The Email Dragon," here.