We all get emails, right? Even if we’re not running our own small business, we’re still getting emails on the daily. Sometimes it can feel out of control and just plain old overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be stressful. I wanted to just share a couple of tips with you today to help reduce the stress of the inbox.
Do unsubscribe when you can.
Let’s start simple. If you’re subscribed to hundreds of newsletters and advertisements, unsubscribe. Maybe try to stretch yourself and cut it down by half. Why not try unroll.me. You probably don’t need all those emails popping into your inbox. Unroll.me will look into your email and see all the subscriptions you are getting on the regular. It’ll help you with quick unsubscribing as well. There are likely still some promotional emails that you want to stay subscribed too. I get it. There are some I still want too. Unroll.me will combine them all into one daily digest. So you’re only getting one email and it has all the goodies inside.
Do create a system of labels.
Labels and folders are key. For example, I have a folder for all the newsletters I want to keep, a folder for each client, one for positive feedback (because sometimes it’s just nice to look back on and know that the work you are creating is valuable!), one for potential leads, etc. These specific folders probably won’t work for you. Your workflow might look different. But figure out a system that works for you is important. Maybe you have a file for each client and subfolders for projects to work on and completed projects. So when you go to work on a specific project, you can specifically find what you still need to do. Or maybe create a folder full of all those emails that include free stock photos. A quick reference.
Don’t check your emails constantly and don’t send them when you’re out of the office. Do give yourself a break.
You’ve probably heard that one thousand times. And I’ll be completely honest here. I need to improve in this area. But by having your phone ding with every new email or having an email tab open, you are subjecting yourself to constant interruptions. This means, that your hard work is likely constantly getting disruptive which can make you less productive. Additionally, can I urge you to honor your office hours? If you want to take evenings and weekends off, don’t send emails during this time. Otherwise you’re sending mixed messages. If you do craft some emails outside of business hours (that’s ok!) either just save them as drafts and send them out again the next time you’re in the office. Or if you use Gmail, trying using the Boomerang app which allows you to schedule emails to send out in advance.
Do use canned responses when possible.
Yes, I like to personalize each and every one of my emails. But if there are certain questions that always come across your inbox, create a canned response. Then you can personalize with a few details. This helps reduce time and also helps to make sure you include all the bits of information you need. If you’re getting the same question(s) over and over again, maybe create a FAQ page for your website.
Last but not least. Try an inbox 0 project if you want. Or don’t. The most important thing is to find a strategy that works for you and not feel pressured if someone else’s system does not work for you!