Who controls whom? Does email control your daily life yet alone steal your evenings, weekends and holidays?

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This week I hosted a webinar with Kate Gerry, who works with people on how to save time in their business and control email so that it works for you and not the other way round. Some of her clients had thousands of unread emails in their in box yet alone the thousands of read (opened emails) that hadn’t been acted on, archived or deleted.

These are the main points I picked up from Kate’s webinar, which have already been acted on by a many of the webinar attendees. For every email you receive consider ‘do I read it?’ and ‘does it add value to my business or my work?’ Considering these two criteria alone changes our thinking around email.

For the first hour of every day don’t read your emails, in fact don’t even open email (whichever tool you use). Having a clear hour to work on a project, write a blog, do some brainstorming, make phone calls which make a significant difference to the business/your job. If that does mean a specific email is sent for a specific reason that’s fine but don’t get distracted and start to read new emails or ones you haven’t got around to yet. And if at all possible turn off those little pop up notices, which appear on your screen showing you the subject matter and sender of the email; again it’s a distraction.

Here’s more some tips to make email work for you…

  • In the search box within your email tool, often top left of the screen type ‘unsubscribe’ this will bring up all the emails that include an unsubscribe option. Scan them to make sure there’s nothing important and then anything that’s more than 2 weeks old highlight and delete. If it was an important email you’d have read it by now and acted on it or filed away for reference, you could even delete all of them.
  • As each new newsletter or advertorial type email comes in consider is this something that I’ll read and does it add value to the business? If so set up a rule so the email goes directly into a folder if not unsubscribe. Even if you unsubscribe from this newsletter.
  • Make sure that any personal emails go to your personal email account, they are another distraction. You can easily pick up them up on a smart phone. This may mean that you have to email each person with a change of email address as they’re received or go through the process of changing the email address on their system but its worth it.
  • Set up email folders but not too many as its too confusing, have main headings and then sub folders underneath them e.g. Clients and then a folder for each client. Then set a rule for every person or business you receive emails from so that they go straight to the relevant folder. You can then systematically work through the folders based on the importance, you can see the number of unread emails in each folder so you can keep a track of them.
  • Diarise time twice a day to read emails, if you are expecting an email that needs immediate action then take the action, otherwise just check twice a day. It will be much more effective.
If you’d like to hear the webinar that Kate and I ran which has more detail on these hints and tips plus other useful information then please email me and I’ll send you the link.

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