How to get from Email Hell to Email Heaven!
How many emails did you answer today? Ten? Twenty? More?
Are you a bit overwhelmed with emails - watching hundreds come dinging into your mailbox every morning, noon, and night?
If you are, you’re like hundreds of other small business women who feel overwhelmed with all the content being thrown at them, like rice at a wedding.
It’s time to stop. Stop! STOP! JUST STOP!
Email sucks more time from us than we realize, until we begin to look at it seriously.
How do you describe email?
It’s a never-ending black hole of noise that consumes our time, distracts us from getting stuff done, creates a false sense of accomplishment and leads to information loss. — Zach Katsof
Wow! I love that ‘never-ending black hole of noise’ description. That guy knows how to use language.
Do you often feel that way? I used to. I used to get up every morning and dread sitting down at my desk. I could hear those hundreds of emails clamoring for my attention.
I would sigh, take a sip of coffee, and begin answering emails, or reading newsletters, or deleting spam. And, an hour or so later, I’d realize I could have been doing something far more productive, if only I could learn to ignore my email.
Why should you ignore <some> email?
1) Email is not real-time
2) Email does not have a word limit per message
3) Email lacks emotion, and does not convey cultural nuances or sarcasm.
4) Email has no time zone and is always on
In other words, email is an annoyance. Email is supposed to be a benefit, but when you slip into email hell, it becomes a prime reason you aren’t getting more done.
Here’s the solution. Simple. Straight forward. And easy to do.
Organize your email.
See, how simple is that?
What do I mean by organize your email? Let’s go through the steps - this is how I manage my email. And, the first part of managing email is to take charge of it. You must be the master of your inbox.
Once you decide you are in charge, you can go through these steps and enter email heaven.
Get rid of newsletters you don’t read. It’s time consuming, but if you have a dozen or more newsletters that you signed up for years ago, as I did, and you don’t read them anymore - click that unsubscribe button now!
Create folders for your content. For instance, I have my email folders divided between clients, newsletters (and even specific folders for specific newsletters), recipes - yep, I’m a member of Allrecipes.com, and even misc for items I’m not sure of.
You must decide to either add the content as it comes in, or after you read it and decide you want to save it. Most email clients allow you to choose where you want the email to go - to the inbox or a folder. Master that content!
Be selective about new email. Do not allow other people to abuse your good nature! Only share your email address if you absolutely want to! If you need to give up your email to get good content from someone else, be aware that you can easily unsubscribe once you receive the book or free whatever.
Set a time of day for email. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning. This was a life saver for me. I learned it at a coaching session in CO and it put that big bright light bulb over my head. Yes, I thought. I can answer email AFTER I write my eBooks or blog posts. People won’t throw tomatoes at me if I don’t answer them immediately! (and if they do, those are not people you want to work or be friends with)
Learn to write short email replies. Often we write in the voice we use to speak. When you’re speaking, you can say a whole lot in one minute. When you write all of that down, it becomes too much content for the reader to consume - just think of yourself and how you appreciate one or two sentences, with the option for more explanation either by phone or video.
When writing replies, help your reader by using short paragraphs. Even breaking your four sentence paragraph into four individual sentences. This allows quick reading.
Learn to say no, without qualification. This means if I ask you to do something, or meet with me, or whatever, and you can’t, just say, No, I can’t. I can ask why, but it would be rude. I need to accept that you would if you could. No is a complete sentence. Just saying.
These are quick and simple steps to managing an overflowing email inbox. You can do them. They aren’t hard. They will take some time upfront but, once you’ve implemented them, you will be in email heaven.
If you are one of the lucky folks out there who already live in email heaven, share some secrets you have for managing overflowing email inboxes.
Of course, I love to see emails from prospects and clients in my email box. Write to me today. Tell me what’s on your mind about your business.