Do you find yourself constantly or even obsessively checking your email all day long? Do you feel a sinking sense of dread and resentment every time you look at your inbox? If you’re like a lot of business owners I know, you probably wonder why people talk about email being a time saver, when in your world, it feels like a huge time eater!
But you can get on top of your email and stop feeling like it’s your master. You can choose to follow some or all of these steps, and of course, you can always ask your virtual assistant to handle it for you! No matter how you tackle your email, when you streamline how you use it, you will definitely save time so you can focus on what really matters – your business.
Seven Time-Saving Email Tips
1. To start, turn off audible alerts. There are few things that can interrupt a train of thought more effectively than a pinging noise.
2. Keep your personal and professional email separate. If you are currently using one email address for both, create a new one. It may be easier to transition clients to the new email address, especially if you can create one that sounds professional or uses your website or business name. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org gives a more professional impression than email@example.com.
3. Block spam and unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters or promotional emails you may be receiving. Turn off social media notifications. Believe me, you do not need an email every time someone likes your latest Facebook post.
4. Sort incoming emails by priority. If you use Gmail, you have probably noticed that they now do the sorting for you. They have created three tabs that separate incoming mail: primary, social and promotions. If you don’t use Gmail, you can create and name folders and set rules so your email provider automatically sends emails to the appropriate folder.
5. Use the archive feature to keep your inbox empty. When you have finished with a message, send it to the archive right away. Then you won’t have to search through tons of messages to find what you need, and you won’t have the psychological ding of seeing thousands of messages living there every day.
6. Schedule dedicated blocks of time for email. Don’t constantly toggle between your actual work and your email screen. This is a huge time-waster. It’s distracting and interrupts your thoughts so it takes you much longer to get tasks completed in the long run. Start by planning to deal with your email just three times per day, for only half an hour each time. Check it first thing in the morning, at midday, and before you end your workday. Adjust this schedule as you get used to it. You might even find that you really only need to check email once a day.
7. Finally, delegate. There is nothing better than allowing another person to take smaller tasks off your plate, or even just the tasks you don’t enjoy! A virtual assistant is the perfect person to call on to help you with most of the above tips. For many small business owners, asking your VA to deal with routine customer service emails can also save a huge amount of time.
To get more details on how you can offload email tasks to a virtual assistant, get in touch, and I can help!
© Copyright 2014 Sophie Zollmann