If you’re a home-based professional, you might be finding yourself swamped by emails. Your day is full of demands from reaching out to colleagues and actually getting some work done. And all the time, emails keep coming in. So how do you gain control over your inbox and build your business?
Here are some expert tips to help you get your inbox working for you.
If your inbox looks like a pile of laundry, you need to embrace the email folder!
Folders are easy to set up to suit your business needs and make keeping track of messages and prioritizing them so much easier. Be rigorous about moving messages to folders and resolve to have an empty inbox by the end of the day. There are also lots of software options to help filter and sort your emails for you.
Likely you get a lot of emails that you signed for and now don’t even read. They are weeds that are infesting your inbox!
Before you hit delete, go to the unsubscribe button down at the bottom of most emails and get off those lists.
Use the Two Minute Rule
Set up folders for the four D’s – Dump, Delegate, Defer, Do.
Once you’ve got your folders set up, you should implement the two-minute rule. In just two minutes, you can either respond quickly, trash, or mark with an action flag and move the email to the appropriate folder for future action, or if its a quick response, do it.
Isolate Your Email Admin Time
Set aside confined times during the day when all you do is deal with your inbox – usually not when you are most prodictive. Outside those times, close your email or turn off notifications, so you don’t get distracted by incoming messages, all clamoring for your attention.
Depending on your schedule, it can be useful to deal with emails at the middle and end of each working day. That’s it. Add this information to your email signature, so correspondents know when you’re available to answer emails.
Don’t Skim Business Emails
Reserve skimming for when you check your inbox for new messages.
When you are reading an email, give it your full attention to see what is actually being said or asked. Too often, people will fire off a quick response without giving proper consideration to the substance of the email.
Imagine you’re reading a hard copy letter and give it the same level of thought before you hit that reply button. If it’s a tricky email, hang off pressing send and read it over.