Email is the main communication tool to effectively run a business from anywhere, to communicate in a personal or a professional way and to collaborate effectively. Also, is a way of gaining time before replying back to an enquiry, usually with the most helpful or to-the-point answer! Of course, no one likes to receive tones of e-mails, but emails’ news it’s a proof that our business runs smoothly. So, mailbox is our friend, we love e-mails and want them in our life!
Here are some strategies that will help you be the big winner in the e-mail management battle because workload is overwhelming enough:
1. Define a daily habit of checking e-mails. As Lisa Chu from Black N Bianco Kids Clothing mentions checking your email 2-3 times per day can help you with your time management. You can even schedule it as a task like Manu Lail, Managing Partner at RMG Hospitality, does and check it first thing in the morning, maybe after lunch and 30min prior your end of your workday, as Megan Ingenbrandt, Marketing & Social Media Manager at Green Technology Services, suggests. Don’t forget to set a timer!
2. Set an automatic reply. As soon as your business or you as an individual receives a lot of emails that you can’t handle easily on time, just prepare an automatic reply as Yakov Villasmil, Realtor at 123miamibeach, does. Informing your clients that in case they are in urgent, they should try to call, can save you from an inconvenient situation.
3. Send e-mails wisely. Emails thanking someone lead to “you are welcome” emails and so on. Nick Leffler, Owner of Your Brand by Nick Leffler, indicates that “the amount of email sent is usually in direct correlation to how much email received”. William Bauer, Managing Director at Royce Leather, underlines that sometimes “no reply after a certain time period can be considered a reply in itself too”, because spending time about this may make you sick and tired of your work.
4. Establish an alternative communication method for your internal messages. Mails are not instant messaging and group chats. John Turner, CEO/Founder of UsersThink, agrees that group chats make employee’s experience much easier when searching for crucial information through internal communication. Check your smile when you will get rid of emails with just a word of “Ok” or “Done”.
5. The two-reply rule. As Anjuan Simmons, Technology Translator, speaker and blogger at Anjuan Simmons, states if your reply triggers an immediate reply and after you replying again, another reply comes to your mailbox, you should then choose another communication method (e.g. phone).
6. Manage different emails for different occasions. Instead of having a general email for all occasions, try to monitor different ones for marketing, requests or personal purposes, as Wendi Weiner, career industry expert and owner of The Writing Guru, suggests.
7. Be clear on what you want. Make sure that you ask clear questions explaining what you want from the recipient, as Karla Brandau, author of Email Survival Skills and Owner of It’s Time for Results, underlines. In case that the topic is pretty complex or seems that it would turn into a discussion, just choose another communication method or meet F2F.
8. Stay with an appropriate subject. Of course, it is very important to summarize the key information of your e-mail in the subject, but the most priceless of all is to update the subject “when the topic changes, when a specific action is needed, or to highlight a point”, like Janet Basilone, a ghostwriter, blogger and founder of Fine Diners Over 40, does. On top of that, you can also put date or some Alert words in your subject in order to boost people open it quickly!
9. Use templates. Another tip you would be thankful of following is to create your very own templates in order to respond speedy in frequently asked questions and/or requests. This strategy has been followed and verified having positive results by Angie Nelson of The Work at Home Wife and Kevin Adkins of Kenmore Law Group.
10. Use reminders, schedulers and BCCs. Snooze an email reminder, schedule emails for later sending, send massive emails that seem to be personal and use apps that help you connecting an email with an event or create a new one. These are some great ways that Jen Skene, Director of Operations at MixMax, has suggested.
Email should not be our personal headache and these strategies will help you avoid burnout and work smart and effectively with your mailbox.
These were only the start and prepare yourself for the sequel of this article with Actions to do in order to reach Inbox Zero.