Manage Your Inbox

Written by Deb Bixler

Is your email out of control? 

Does it take you longer to sift through your inbox than you have time to spend in the office?  Don’t be afraid to turn your computer on! A recent direct sales training event showed me how important it is to manage your email.

During the call we spoke very briefly on managing your email system for better productivity.  Recently at a live seminar one of the attendees said that she incorporated my inbox management system into her office routine and has streamlined her daily email operations.

Check Your Email Daily

I get a ton of emails every time I turn my computer on.  The first secret to this system is going to be a very simple technique.  Make a habit of checking your email at least once a day, preferably twice.  This alone will make a huge impact on the manageability factor in your inbox.  I am always amazed at how many entrepreneurs go for weeks without ever checking their emails.  Your email is a revenue generation system.  It may not be easy to physically see the cash flow from checking your email, yet prompt attention to your inbox will defiantly increase your ability to produce income.  Anyone in business needs to check the email and respond daily.  Just yesterday, Thursday, I had an email from some one who wants me to speak to her company’s national conference in the Spring.    She planned on making a decision on the following Monday in regard to whom she was going to hire.  Systematically checking your email reduces the enormity of it and keeps you timely to generate income.  If you are in business to make money then, check your email daily.

Delete-Delete-Delete

Delete all irrelevant messages before beginning the review process.  When you first open your email on a daily basis, start at the top, and highlight the first on in the list that is to be deleted.  Holding the control button down, go down the column and highlight each one to be deleted.  When you hold the control button down, you can just go down the column and touch everyone that you want to delete.  You should be able to tell by the subject bar which ones those are.  Also highlight all of the ones that are forwarded.  A little discretion can be used here although not much.  It is pretty safe to say that it is a rare email that has been forwarded that is worth keeping or that needs your attention. As I said earlier email is cash flow generator so don’t mess with forwarded email, spasm, social games or any of the such rubbish.   This is a really quick process, just hold the control button down and touch each one to be highlighted.  You will have a column of blue highlighted emails,  then just push delete.  And Wam!  They are all gone!  This morning when I hit delete, a huge column of emails that went off the page, and zip………it went down to only 6 that needed my attention.  The deleted ones probably numbered 30 or more.  Later on in the afternoon when I checked back, I did the same thing and zip……only had 3 to attend too.  You will be thrilled at how well this technique works.

Deal With It And Move It

Next deal with each email as you have time.  After it is taken care of, responded too, printed out, etc. you can either file it or delete it.  If it is an email that you want to save move it to a pre-set up folder on the side.  You can have as many folders as you want under your inbox.  For example, I have one for publicity, real estate, direct sales consultants, my tech advisor, my accountant, etc.  There are probably 15 folders, in which I file emails that I want to hold onto for a while.  If you do not have time to take care of something, maybe it will take more time than you have at the moment, then just leave it in the inbox.  Your inbox is only for incoming mail and mail not dealt with yet.  Your inbox should all fit in one view pane at all times.  Once it is taken care of either delete it or move it to a folder for future reference.  If you send a reply back and you are waiting for a return reply, then keep it in the inbox so that you do not forget about it.  The folders at the side are like filing cabinets for future reference.  Deal with it, delete it, or move it to a file.  Pretty simple, huh?  This system really works and frees you up to generate income.

7 Email Tips:

  • Keep your email for business.  If you are a social emailer, then have two identities.  Don’t clutter up your office or your time with personal emails.
  • Don’t forward junk.  Don’t forward at all.  If it is important, save it to a file and attach it to your own outgoing email.
  • Keep you outgoing emails clean.  If you are replying, then delete what is irrelevant, in the reply and change the subject bar to a new subject.
  • Keep emails brief.  If it fills a page or takes up more space than the window then maybe you should be talking in person.
  • Be professional.  You are conducting business and your business deserves to be represented professionally in print.  Do not fall into the casual mode of no caps, and poor spelling or cute abbreviations.
  • Beware of email addiction.  When used correctly email is a tool that will compliment your other business tools.  When used incorrectly it can become and obsession and an excuse not to provide real customer service.
  • Did I say check your email every day?!

You will be amazed and impressed at how easy it is to keep your emails manageable with these two simple strategies.  And don’t forget to check your email every day!  It only makes good business sense.

Comments

2 Responses to “Manage Your Inbox”

  1. Megan @ Disorder2Order says:
    January 13th, 2009 10:47 pm

    Great post and very helpful advice for those struggling to stay on top of email. It can be overwhelming when mismanaged. I actually got in the habit of turning off all alerts. It forces me to dedicate my email time to specific times in the day, rather than be interrupted at my desk each time I get the “you got mail” beep…

  2. Marsha Egan says:
    January 22nd, 2009 9:26 am

    Great advice. What you are really saying here is — “manage your interruptions.” The more you can group similar tasks, the more effective you can be. And that allows you to do what is REALLY important — like play with your kids!

    We can not ignore the fact that e-mail is commerce, and is growing in usage and popularity. So, to not deal with it regularly is probably not the wise choice.

    I like to recommend a routine for checking e-mail. Just like most people have a routine for when they get their paper mail from the mailbox, a routine for checking e-mail can go a long way to not only staying up with things, but being efficient about it.

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